Graves introduces bipartisan water infrastructure improvement bill

Rep. Sam Graves

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), ranking member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on Monday joined a bipartisan contingent of his committee colleagues in introducing comprehensive water infrastructure legislation.

“This bill will ultimately save the lives and livelihoods of many Americans who live and work along our rivers, all while helping rebuild our water infrastructure and our economy,” said Rep. Graves on July 13. “It’s a big win for north Missouri and our entire country.”

Rep. Graves signed on as the lead original cosponsor of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, H.R. 7575, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to provide for improvements to U.S. rivers and harbors, as well as for the conservation and development of water and related resources.

“WRDA 2020 will facilitate commerce through our ports and inland waterways, improve flood control infrastructure, and help develop flood control plans that actually work,” Rep. Graves said. “It also presses pause on the creation of harmful habitat structures in the river and facilitates repairs and improvements on our locks and dams in the Midwest.”

Rep. Graves pushed for many items important to north Missouri to be included in the bill, particularly those dealing with flooding, according to the congressman’s staff.

For instance, if enacted, H.R. 7575 would give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers new construction authority for communities facing repetitive flooding events by ensuring that rehabilitation projects are done efficiently and effectively following a flood event.

Additionally, H.R. 7575 would direct the Corps to prioritize flood risk resiliency technical assistance for economically disadvantaged communities, and would expand upon the work already being done toward completing a Lower Missouri River Basin Flood Risk and Resiliency Plan, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Graves’ office.

Among numerous other provisions, the bill also would direct the Corps to expand the scope of the 2020 Work Plan Investigations study, subject to the approval of the local project sponsor, to include projects constructed as part of the Pick-Sloan Missouri River Basin Program and the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, according to the summary.