US Senate passes critical for Alabama water infrastructure legislation

The Wilson Dam
The Wilson Dam in Florence, Ala., March 5, 2014. [Photo via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers | Lee Roberts]

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA), a comprehensive bill that makes critical investments in water infrastructure systems across the country, by a vote of 99-1.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, praised the passage of the bill which he believes answers President Donald Trump’s call to address America’s aging water infrastructure, is the most sweeping infrastructure package to be considered this Congress. 

“The state of Alabama and the entire nation will benefit across the board from this water infrastructure bill,” Shelby. “The bipartisan measure provides resources to keep our communities safe by improving drinking water and wastewater systems. It also authorizes important water projects that will create jobs and spur economic growth and development, increasing the impact of federal dollars. I look forward to witnessing the effects of this legislation and will continue to work diligently with my colleagues to prioritize our nation’s immediate and long-term infrastructure needs.”  

AWIA directs the actions of the Army Corps of Engineers and authorizes major water infrastructure projects that benefit most states – key projects such as deepening nationally significant ports, maintaining inland waterways, upgrading dams and irrigation systems, and increasing water storage. These projects will help safeguard the shipment of American-made goods to the coasts and around the world, while also ensuring water delivery to America’s ranchers and farmers. Further, the measure approves resources to help rural communities participate in successful federal leveraging programs.

In an effort to improve safety in local communities, the legislation provides maintenance for dams and levees and addresses drinking water and wastewater systems across the country. Additionally, the legislation reauthorizes the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds for the first time since 1996 – granting states the ability to address drinking water needs.

Last month, the House of Representatives passed the legislation by voice vote. The bill will now move to the President’s desk for his signature.