Letter to U.S. House of Representatives Supporting the "Water Resources Development Act of 2007"
November 5, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges you to vote to override the President's veto of the conference report for H.R. 1495, the "Water Resources Development Act of 2007."
This bill is long overdue and provides the coordinated federal agenda needed to better protect the United States against severe weather and flooding, and to facilitate commerce at the nation's waterways and ports. Passage of H.R. 1495 would provide the Army Corps of Engineers with the resources they need to undertake hundreds of flood control, navigation and environmental mitigation projects over the next two years, and ensure that transportation demands are addressed.
The inland waterway system is an essential part of the national transportation network, enabling vital commerce throughout the United States. Farmers depend on the system to deliver crops to the domestic and global marketplace, and the business community relies on the waterways to move raw materials and manufactured goods throughout the U.S. each day. On an annual basis, the U.S. marine transportation system moves more than 2 billion tons of domestic and international freight and contributes $718 billion to the nation's gross domestic product. This represents a significant portion of nation's annual freight load which would otherwise have to travel on other modes of transportation, increasing already problematic congestion at key bottlenecks throughout the country. H.R. 1495 will provide the necessary infrastructure upgrades to ensure the competitiveness of the nation's exports and to permit America's access to low-cost imported products.
As demand for freight transportation grows due to the rapid increase of international trade, the United States needs to be more vigilant about the maintenance and improvement of the transportation infrastructure system to ensure productivity and competitiveness as a nation. For these reasons, the Chamber strongly encourages you to vote to override the veto of the conference report for H.R. 1495. The Chamber will consider using votes on, or in relation to this issue, in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten