The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee has approved its plan to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The measure includes a controversial proposal known as the “SRF WIN Act” to the bill.
Introduced earlier this year by Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), the SRF WIN Act would amend EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program to create a new class of loans exclusively for use by state infrastructure financing authorities to leverage funds to pay for projects on states’ Drinking Water SRF priority lists or Clean Water SRF intended use plans. The program would offer state applicants a number of benefits not available to individual communities that seek funding under WIFIA.
In a May 9 letter to the EPW Committee, water sector groups including the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) wrote to Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) to express concerns about a draft bill that could threaten the future of EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program.
In the letter, the groups warned that the SRF WIN Act could reduce the overall leveraging ability of the WIFIA program, among other concerns.
Other water sector groups including the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) and the American Public Works Association (APWA) expressed support for the SRF WIN provision.
The Water Resources Development Act will now move on to the Senate floor, though no timetable for its consideration has been announced.
Meanwhile, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved its own version of WRDA legislation that does not include SRF WIN provisions. As a result, a House-Senate conference committee will likely decide whether to include the SRF WIN program in the final WRDA legislation that congressional leaders hope to complete by the end of the year.