Congress strikes rare compromise on water bill

A Houston area congressman is praising a rare compromise on Capitol Hill.

Representative Randy Weber, a Republican from Texas' 14th district, "Not only is this legislation significant to my district," he said in a press release to Eyewitness News, "but it will play a pivotal role in strengthening our nation's waterway infrastructure."

That legislation is the Water Resources Reform Development Act of 2014, signed into law today by President Barack Obama.

The law provides $12.3 billion for 34 water infrastructure projects over the next 10 years. All of the projects were recommendations of the Army Corp of Engineers.

Locally, Weber's office tells Eyewitness News that the act includes the Sabine Neches Waterway Channel improvement project and the Port of Freeport Harbor channel improvement project.

The Sabine Neches Waterway channel improvement project will create thousands of jobs, according to the WRRDA's supporters, and increase business activity by $5 billion, as well as inject $500 million into the local economy. It serves the ports of Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Orange, Texas.

The Port of Freeport is Nation's 27th largest waterway in total tonnage.

"Today is a great day for Texas District 14," said Rep. Weber.

It's been seven years since the last such funding package, and President Obama praised lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for putting together a bipartisan package he was happy to sign into law.

"They set aside politics, they focused on what was important for the country and what was important for their communities," he said. "And as a consequence we have a piece of legislation that is really going to make a good difference."
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