December 8, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), legislation enacted every two years that authorizes essential water infrastructure projects carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
This year’s version of the bill contains provisions important to San Diego, such as feasibility studies for shoreline stabilization along the Del Mar Bluffs and coastal storm damage reduction in Southern California. It also contains Rep. Peters’ bill to federally deauthorize a portion of a local levee system, the San Diego River and Mission Bay Improvement Project. Over time, a portion of this system has been significantly modified by infrastructure, including the construction of Friars Road, that cannot be easily or economically relocated. In order to keep the rest of the system eligible for federal support that would potentially cover the total cost of repairs following a flood event, this modified portion needs to be federally deauthorized and placed under the city’s jurisdiction.
“Permanent infrastructure, including a police station and transit center, encroach on this 785-foot-long segment, making it nearly impossible to restore that section of the levee to its original condition,” Rep. Peters said. “By deauthorizing this particular section, and giving the city the needed regulatory authority, San Diego is one step closer to having the remainder of the system stay in the federal rehabilitation program.”
This year’s compromised and negotiated version of WRDA approves all 46 pending recommendations to Congress by the Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on water resources infrastructure priorities, streamlines flooding and resiliency measures, and reauthorizes discretionary spending to donor and energy transfer ports, like the Port San Diego, through Fiscal Year 2030. The bill also authorizes additional annual spending out of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to meet the maintenance needs of ports and harbors.
Since Rep. Peters was first elected, Congress has successfully enacted three consecutive bipartisan WRDAs in 2014, 2016, and 2018. In 2018, WRDA included Rep. Peters’ legislation to encourage greater investment in clean energy by giving already-approved hydropower projects a four-year extension if there are delays on breaking ground.
After passing the House of Representatives and the Senate, the bill now goes to the president to be signed into law.