Larsen Supports Bill Strengthening NW Ports

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today voted in favor of a water infrastructure bill that passed the House of Representatives and supports economic growth in the Pacific Northwest. The Water Resources Reform and Development Act authorizes federal investment in ports, flood control and ecosystem restoration.

Today’s House vote approved the bill as agreed to by a conference committee. The House originally passed the Act last fall. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reconciled their respective chambers’ bills over the course of the last six months. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill later in the week.

“Strong ports and water infrastructure mean jobs and a healthy economy in Northwest Washington, where we know that waterways are as important to our transportation system as roads and highways.

“The bill the House passed today supports Washington state’s ports and streamlines permitting for new water infrastructure projects. These changes are an important investment in our economy and will help keep our ports competitive,” Larsen said.

The committee report contains several provisions that Larsen has championed, including:

  • Makes permanent Section 214, which allows local governments to fund additional U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff time to expedite the processing of permits for infrastructure and ecosystem restoration projects. 
  • Authorizes inspection stations on the Columbia River to stop invasive species like quagga mussels from getting into our waterways.
  • Improves the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to include a set aside for smaller ports and to allow for expanded uses. Ports in Northwest Washington pay more into the trust fund than they are eligible to receive because most of the funding is reserved for dredging, which the naturally deep-water Pacific Northwest ports do not need as much as other ports.

Larsen is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

A summary of the bill is available here and a section-by-section breakdown is available here.