Yesterday’s Senate passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act advances several conservation priorities of importance to the boating industry.
“With millions of Americans rediscovering their passion for the boating lifestyle and outdoor recreation as a whole — an industry that accounts for $788 billion in economic activity, 2.1 percent of U.S. GDP, and 5.2 million American jobs — the bipartisan infrastructure deal could not come at a more urgent time,” NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer said in a statement.
Among the conservation provisions in the $1.2 trillion bipartisan deal, which passed in a 69-30 vote, are several Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and National Marine Manufacturers Association priorities:
• reauthorizes the $750 million Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund
• $10 billion to support U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation infrastructure priorities
• $455 million annually for five years for the Department of Transportation's Port Infrastructure Development Program
• $7 billion for Corps of Engineers infrastructure priorities, including funding for projects on storm damage reduction and coastal storm risk management
• $4.35 billion for Western water infrastructure, which will promote ecosystem restoration and make boating access more resilient
• $1.4 billion for natural infrastructure solutions through the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-Saving Transportation Grant Program
• $14.65 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program, which helps improve water quality and fish habitat through estuary restoration, stormwater management and more
• $400 million for WaterSMART grants, with $100 million for natural infrastructure solutions to reduce the impacts of drought, create new habitat and improve water quality
“Making this commitment to habitat restoration, water quality, climate resilience, wildlife crossings and road access on our public lands signals that Senate lawmakers understand the job-creating power of conservation and the foundational importance of outdoor recreation and natural resources in America,” Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of TRCP, said in a statement. “These efforts are not only worth the investment as we think about the future of the nation’s infrastructure — many are long overdue.”