By a 95-3 vote, the U.S. Senate has reauthorized the Water Resources Development Act, a key program for the recreational boating industry that funds improvements and maintenance of waterways and harbors.
The $10.6 billion bill, S. 2848, now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, where a vote could come as early as this week.
“This is a significant victory for anglers and boaters in Florida and throughout the nation. Projects supporting clean water and safe navigation are non-partisan and we are very pleased this essential legislation is moving forward,” Scott Gudes, American Sportfishing Association vice president of government affairs, said in a statement.
Ahead of the vote, several industry associations urged Congress to act on the issue last week. The briefing was co-hosted by the ASA, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Boat Owners Association of The United States, Marine Retailers Association of America, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association of Florida and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
“Without WRDA’s critical funding, America’s recreational boaters could find some waterways too shallow or dangerous to safely navigate or small harbors potentially off limits if funding for dredging is not addressed,” BoatUS Government Affairs Senior Program Manager David Kennedy said before the vote, noting that the WRDA bill affects thousands of recreational boaters.