CLEVELAND (July 17, 2020) – Greater Cleveland Partnership is urging support of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which would authorize tens of billions of dollars to protect the Great Lakes, prevent flooding and erosion and block invasive species from entering waterways, among other provisions.
“Investments in our water infrastructure spur innovation, protect our drinking water, create jobs and encourage economic growth,” said Marty McGann, GCP Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Strategic Initiatives. “This bill will address critical needs and help protect our region’s biggest asset – Lake Erie.”
This week, GCP, as part of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, sent a letter to Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, that outlined its support, which was successful. The committee passed the bill on Wednesday. It is expected to go to the full House later this month.
“Previous iterations of the Act authorized major projects that spurred investment across the Great Lakes,” the letter states. The coalition also urged the reauthorization of clean water revolving loans, stating “These funds are critical for our region, as water crises in places like Flint, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, prove that Great Lakes Basin water supplies are vulnerable.”
The bill would authorize funding for the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, which will determine water resource needs for the Great Lakes system and make recommendations for development projects to respond to changing hydrologic and climatic conditions. The study safeguards against threats like flooding and erosion and is vital to protecting the 5,2000-mile coastline.
Another project would allocate $700 million for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Ill., where carp and other invasive species could be blocked from entering Lake Michigan.
Overall, the bill would address the Army Corps of Engineers’ $40 billion backlog of key projects.