“I am pleased to join my colleagues today to pass the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. This bill includes a number of provisions to strengthen our nation’s infrastructure and ports, which are crucial to providing more opportunity and good paying jobs for Texans, and to also help Texas better prepare and mitigate against future hurricanes and flooding events. Further, this bill includes a number of specific provisions for projects in Texas, including constructing the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay coastal protection system, which will help shield a number of our Gulf Coast cities from the impacts of hurricanes and storm surges, expediting the completion of the study for the Coastal Spine, deepening the Galveston Harbor Channel, exploring the deepening and widening of the Trinity River to re-establish navigation of the channel to Liberty, Texas, which would increase commerce in the area, and restoring the resacas ecosystem in Brownsville. These are crucial projects to the Lone Star State and its economic success.
“Throughout my time as Senator, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the ports of Beaumont, Houston, and Corpus Christi, and meet with the job creators there. I know first-hand the economic impact these ports have to their local communities. I take seriously my responsibility to work with Texas port communities and job creators to ensure they remain a strong economic engine for our state and our country.”
The bill passed by the Senate today authorizes four projects in Texas, including:
- Construction of the Sabine Pass to Galveston Baycoastal protection system, in order to reduce the risks of tropical storm surge impacts in Orange, Jefferson, and Brazoria counties through the construction of structural measures;
- Deepening of the Galveston Harbor Channel, which currently is operating with insufficient depth. This project would allow access by larger vessels, which would maximize economic efficiency in transporting goods and materials, such as those used in oil and gas production;
- Studying the feasibility of a navigation project on the Trinity River, including the Channel of Liberty, Anahuac, and Channel to Smith Points; and
- Carrying out the resacas ecosystem restoration project in Brownsville, to address the deterioration of the resacas, improve flood protection water storage, and restore much of the natural riparian habitat along the resacas on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande River.
Further, this bill:
- Includes language introduced by Sens. Cruz and John Cornyn (R-Texas) to expedite the completion of the study of Coastal Spine, which will recommend a strategy to reduce flood risks and mitigating damages due to coastal storms and erosion along the entire Texas Gulf Coast;
- Directs the United States Army Corps of Engineers to expeditiously carry out any currently authorized projects for flood risk management or hurricane and storm damage risk reduction in Texas;
- Requires the United States Army Corps of Engineers to advance necessary modifications to Wright Patman Lake, which serves as the primary water reservoir for northeast Texas;
- Provides Congressional direction that high-use federal navigation projects should ensure 2-way traffic, and consider safety improvements when calculating commercial navigation benefits, which is critical for future economic growth along the Houston Ship Channel.