Van Hollen Applauds Passage of Water Infrastructure Bill
Legislation Includes Provisions Crucial to Maryland
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, applauded the bipartisan passage of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act. The legislation will invest in numerous infrastructure projects in Maryland and across the country and includes funding to repair aging drinking water, wastewater, and irrigation systems, protect Americans from dangerous floodwaters, and increase public participation and state funding flexibility in local infrastructure projects. The legislation will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Modernizing our infrastructure is crucial to Marylanders’ health and the success of our state’s economy. From projects at Poplar Island and the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Islands to those that help communities manage floodwater and improve drinking water, this bipartisan legislation secures important investments across the state,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I will continue working to strengthen Maryland’s infrastructure and provide our communities with the resources they need.”
Senator Van Hollen fought for the following provisions of particular note to Marylanders. America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would:
· Reject the Trump administration’s proposed reclassification of the Poplar Island restoration project, which could imperil the progress of this national model for restoration success located in Talbot County.
· Extend the original seven-year authorization of the Mid-Bay Islands Ecosystem Restoration Project, focused on James and Barren Islands in Dorchester County, by an additional three years, to total 10 years.
· Require the Army Corps of Engineers to increase public participation by, at a minimum, holding annual public meetings at the District level, providing information about the administration’s budget requests, and allowing non-federal interests the opportunity to collaborate and share in concept development and decision-making to solve problems. This would allow for greater involvement of local governments to advocate for projects in their area and would impact Maryland projects like Hoopers Island.
· Create $8 million in new EPA grants through a Drinking Water System Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability Program for water systems that will assist in planning, design, construction, implementation, operation, or maintenance to improve resilience to natural hazards.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Van Hollen has also worked to deliver the approved funding for Army Corps projects, ranging from the dredging of the Baltimore Harbor and Knapps Narrows to beach replenishment in Ocean City. This bill continues authorization of key Army Corps projects in Maryland and ensures more transparency in the process so that the Appropriations Committee can target resources more appropriately.
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