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NRMCA-Backed Water Bill Advances in Congress

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House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a $170 water bill that they hope to send to President Obama for final signature into law before week’s end. The "Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act," S. 612, authorizes the needs of America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection and other water resources infrastructure, and also helps strengthen the nation’s economic competitiveness. It authorizes $10.6 billion in funding for 30 Army Corps of Engineers' water infrastructure projects in 17 states, including drinking water infrastructure programs as well as waterways and flood control systems.

The bill is not shy of controversial language which could play a role in its final passage. It appropriates $170 million to support water cleanup in Flint, MI, following the community’s lead-contamination drinking water crisis which is being offset by various Department of Energy loan programs, it also clears the way for increased pumping of water from California’s Bay Delta into its drought-ridden agriculture region. For this reason alone, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Barbara Boxer has said she will oppose the bill. Her objections, among others, center around the argument that pumping too much water will harm endangered species in the Bay’s Delta region. Proponents of the bill argue that Ranking Member Boxer’s objections may slow the process down, but won’t stop the bill from passing altogether.

NRMCA supports passage of S. 612 and placed its legislative stamp on several measures in the bill. One item in particular is Section 1173 which contains a study on the performance of "innovative materials." In this section, innovative materials includes high performance concrete formulation as well as other materials and emphasizes the need for identifying conditions that result in degradation of water infrastructure projects and the ability of these materials to reduce degradation. The study further asks for identifying conditions and making recommendations on performance-based requirements of these materials.

The study will be conducted by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. The study must be completed within three years after the passage of the bill. NRMCA will continue to examine the bill and report other items of interest to the ready mixed concrete industry.

Click here to view the bill. For more information, please contact Kerri Leininger at

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