Today, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure unanimously advanced the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which included several measures to benefit Arizona. The bipartisan package authorizes water resources projects through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and it now heads to the House floor.
“For far too long, Arizona has not gotten its fair share of federal infrastructure dollars to meet our urgent water infrastructure needs. This bill begins to fill that gap and deliver vital assistance to address our aging water and wastewater systems, provide flood protection to vulnerable communities, and restore our river ecosystems,” said Stanton.
Video of Stanton’s full remarks at the markup is available here.
Stanton, the only Arizona member on the Committee, advocated for key Arizona water infrastructure investments that were included in the final bill:
- $150 million for an environmental infrastructure program in Arizona based off of Stanton’s bill H.R. 2206, the Environmental Infrastructure Assistance Act. This will provide financial assistance to public entities for water-related environmental infrastructure, and resource protection and development projects. It has received widespread support from communities across the state, water associations, and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
- Directs the Corps of Engineers to expedite completion of a report needed to continue construction of the Tres Rios ecosystem restoration project. The Tres Rios Wetlands are a part of Rio Reimagined, an ongoing green infrastructure project along the Rio Salado spearheaded by the late Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ed Pastor. Specifically, the project is designed to provide flood control protection and the use of treated effluent from a regional wastewater treatment facility to restore hydrological connectivity and sustain fish and wildlife habitat.
- Authorization for construction of a flood control project for the Little Colorado River, consisting of new and reconstructed levees to protect the community of Winslow and other parts of Navajo County. The current levee system is at risk of overtopping or failing in a 100-year flood, leaving approximately 2,700 properties and 1,600 structures, including almost all of the community’s critical public facilities—hospitals, schools, nursing homes and utilities—vulnerable. This important project significantly reduces the threat to the community and surrounding areas.
- Directs the Corps to expedite completion of the flood study for the Lower Santa Cruz River. The basin, which includes parts of Pinal County, the City of Maricopa, and the Gila River Indian Community, is one of the fastest growing regions in Arizona. Despite a long history of flooding in the area, no flood control projects have been constructed. Repeated flooding could result in $186 million in damages, according to Army Corps of Engineers estimations.
Full text of the Water Resources Development Act is available here.
A factsheet is available here.