Water Infrastructure Bill heads to President

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - The Senate has passed America's Water Infrastructure Act. This type of legislation typically is passed every two years. It is referred to as WRDA (the Water Resources and Development Act) and deals with wide-ranging issues concerning the nation's water. For agriculture, this can include flooding fixes or transportation infrastructure.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst praised the passage of the bill saying she provided some provisions for increased access for rural projects and streamlining flooding permitting processes.

She says it's also vital for Iowa exports, "Maintaining and improving our ports and waterways is vital to ensuring American goods, particularly ag products, are able to be shipped coast to coast and globally."

Executive Director for the Soy Transportation Coalition Mike Steenhoek says it's often a challenge to explain why the inland waterway system is important for the U.S. economy. There are billions of dollars in a backlog of maintenance for U.S. ports and locks and dams, which on breakdowns can stall exports of state goods.

Steenhoek says the WRDA bill passed this month is just the strategy, the next step comes with appropriations, "And that's the funding step, and that's where the check from the government actually get written and get directed to those specific projects that have been highlighted and authorized in a Water Resources Development Act. So, very important step we were happy to see the House pass it earlier, the Senate pass it now, goes to the President's desk. And it's just one more way of improving our nations transportation system."