Wednesday October 7th, 2015 6:08AM

House passes $8.2 billion water projects bill

By Associated Press and ACCESS staff
WASHINGTON - The House has bucked some of the outside conservative groups that stoked the partial government shutdown and passed an $8.2 billion bill mapping out plans for dams, harbors, river navigation and other water projects for the coming decade.

According to Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston, the act clears the way for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project in his district.

"While our deep water ports support 352,000 jobs here at home, 75 percent of the 21,000 companies we service are based in other states. Moreover, completion of the project will free up $231 million in private capital annually that can be invested in business expansion and job creation," Kingston said.

The House voted 417-3 Wednesday to approve the measure six years after the last water bill was enacted. The bill must now be reconciled with a similar Senate measure passed in May before it can be sent to President Barack Obama.

"This legislation gives Northeast Georgia the freedom to plan for the future of our beautiful lakes as we see fit, and it gets Georgia farm produce out into the markets more efficiently. WRRDA is a win for Georgia, it's a win for American competitiveness, and it's a win for the Constitution," Representative Doug Collins of Gainesville said.

All 14 House members of the Georgia Congressional delegation voted for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, according to Collins' office.

Democrats and Republicans say they back the measure because it will spur job growth and encourage much needed investment in the nation's infrastructure.

Conservative groups, including FreedomWorks, Taxpayers for Common Sense and Heritage Action for America, had opposed the bill saying it doesn't do enough to block unneeded projects.
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