Engineering New Record reports that House and Senate conferees have reached a deal on a long–delayed bill that would authorize about $21 billion for hundreds of Army Corps of Engineers water projects and require more review by outside experts of work the Corps plans to do. Funding would provide for projects to restore the Louisiana coast and Florida’s Everglades, upgrade navigation on the upper Mississippi River and improve flood control efforts nationally. Key lawmakers announced July 27 they had reached an agreement on major elements of a new Water Resources Development Act.
The package represents a melding of a $14.9–billion WRDA bill that the House approved in April and a $13.9–billion measure that the Senate passed in May. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D–Minn.), who also chairs the House–Senate WRDA conference committee, told reporters that the reason the final version’s price tag exceeds the House–passed total is that it also includes projects from the Senate bill. Final votes by both chambers to approve the compromise agreement are expected next week, before the August recess.