On November 8 Congress delivered its first override of a veto by President Bush to approve a $23 billion bill that authorizes water infrastructure projects sought by lawmakers of both parties.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly (79-14) to override the veto, with a majority of Republicans and Democrats rejecting Bush's assertion that the bill is fiscally irresponsible. The House voted to override the veto November 6 by a vote of 361-54.
The water projects in the bill affecting Michigan and the Great Lakes are:
$35 million to cut Michigan sewer overflows.
$20 million to improve water quality of Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.
Money to build a barrier in Chicago to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.
$342 million for a second lock to accommodate larger ships in the St. Marys River.
$3 million for Detroit Riverwalk improvements.
In total across the country, the legislation authorizes $23 billion for projects aimed at improving navigation, flood control, environmental restoration, water supply and storm damage reduction. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), H.R. 1495, would also provide some funding for water, wastewater and combined sewer overflow projects. The funds will be secured annually in the appropriations process.
MITA worked with our allies on Capitol Hill and in the infrastructure community to build support for the veto override and will continue to work on reauthorization of the Clean Water Act as we move into the new year.
If you have any questions please contact Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Keith Ledbetter, director of legislative affairs at email@example.com ; or by calling the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.