The Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee approved the inclusion of legislation introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that will modernize investment in water infrastructure in its comprehensive water infrastructure bill.
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which was unanimously reported out of committee on May 22, includes Boozman’s Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act as a provision in the bill.
“The SRF WIN Act is an innovative solution to updating our water and wastewater infrastructure in a way that communities of all sizes can afford. I’m pleased that Chairman (Sen. John) Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking member (Sen. Tom) Carper (D-DE) recognize that fixing our crumbling infrastructure is a national priority. By including this legislation in the committee’s comprehensive water infrastructure bill, state and local governments will be able to more effectively meet underserved or unmet infrastructure needs,” Boozman said.
Boozman’s work was praised by both Barrasso and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “Thanks to Senator Boozman, [America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018] enhances the effectiveness of federal investments in our nation’s failing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
The provision in the committee-passed legislation would:
- Authorize $100 million annually over two years to support state revolving fund projects exclusively.
- Encourage states to bundle their projects by waiving the $100,000 application fee and streamlining the application process to a maximum 180-day turnaround.
- Promote transparency by requiring EPA to post the list of project applications received and those selected to receive funds.
- Help communities, both big and small, receive funding for their vetted drinking water and wastewater projects.
- Preserve the successful state revolving funds (SRFs) and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program.
Earlier in May, EPW Committee leaders received a letter from the nation’s leading construction, engineering, municipal, conservation, public works, infrastructure finance, labor and manufacturing organizations urging members to include the SRF WIN Act as a provision in the committee’s Water Resources Development Act legislation.
The SRF WIN Act was introduced in February by Boozman and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Cosponsors include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The legislation empowers states to invest in multiple water infrastructure projects. The bill combines the best aspects of state revolving funds (SRFs) with the leveraging power of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to make the process easier and more affordable for states to meet their underserved or unmet water infrastructure needs.