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Booker Praises Committee Passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018

Legislation includes provisions Booker fought for to strengthen water utility workforce, rebuild crumbling water infrastructure

May 22, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), today lauded EPW passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA), bipartisan legislation that includes provisions Booker fought for to expedite critical flood mitigation projects, strengthen our aging water infrastructure, and help boost the water utility workforce. The bill now heads to the full Senate.

"Investing in our water infrastructure is critical to the health and safety of our state’s residents, and to New Jersey’s and our nation’s economic success," said Senator Booker. "This legislation will help protect New Jersey communities from flooding and extreme weather, provide the necessary job training to strengthen our water utility workforce, rebuild our crumbling drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and create jobs. I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work to move this bill through the full Senate.”

Specifically, AWIA includes provisions Senator Booker advocated for that will:

Protect New Jersey Communities from Flooding: Expedites completion of critical flood mitigation projects including the Rahway River Basin flood risk management project, which Booker advocated for with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and directs the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the New Jersey and Delaware Back Bays Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study. The legislation also requires the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the use of both traditional and natural infrastructure alternatives in flood mitigation projects.

Restore New Jersey Ecosystems: Expedites completion of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Project and ensures the New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Feasibility Study is completed in a timely manner.

Rebuild our Crumbling Water Infrastructure: Booker and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) successfully included a $200 million, two year pilot program that will help address the backlog of long-awaited local infrastructure projects. This provision is supported by the Council of Infrastructure Finance Authorities, the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Rural Water Association, LIUNA, and the International Union of Operating Engineers among other groups.

Strengthen our Water Utility Workforce: AWIA also includes a bill introduced by Booker and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) that would establish a competitive grant program to help develop the next generation of water utility workers.

In 2016, Booker and Menendez successfully included several New Jersey priorities in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorization, including the Rahway River Basin Flood Risk Management, Hereford Inlet to Cape May Inlet, Hudson Raritan Estuary, and the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act.

The 2016 WRDA authorization also included many of the proposals included in The True LEADership Act of 2016, originally cosponsored by Booker and Menendez. Among these are a new grant program to reduce lead in drinking water, mandatory reporting of elevated lead levels, and funding for lead testing in school and child care facilities' drinking water.

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