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Congress passes $8.2 billion waterways improvement bill

November 05, 2013
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A water infrastructure improvement bill worth a total of $8.2 billion to be allocated to various projects across the United States was passed in Congress on Oct. 23, the Associated Press reported.

In an overwhelmingly positive bipartisan vote, 224 Republicans and 193 Democrats supported the bill that will see the national water infrastructure vastly improved. Money will be allocated to projects for dams, harbor dredging and river navigation, among others, over the next 10 years.

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The bill, known as Water Resources Reform and Development Act, will benefit approximately half of the country. Some of the largest projects include a restoration plan for the Everglades and improving the ports of Canaveral and Jacksonville in Florida and an expansion of Georgia's Savannah Harbor, as well as a dredging plan for the Sabine-Neches Waterway shared between Texas and Louisiana, which will add a further eight feet of depth to the channel to enable it to accommodate bigger ships. Various projects have been listed in the Great Lakes region, the Mississippi Coast, North Carolina, California, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, Reuters said.

Senators from Georgia and Texas are convinced that the projects will benefit their respective states, as bigger and improved harbors will allow larger ships to enter the ports and will give them access to the energy hub at the Gulf coast.

The money will be authorized to the Army Corps of Engineers, which already has a construction backlog worth $60 billion.

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