PHCC will work with Congress and the Administration to ensure America’s water systems are safe
April 9, 2018
By Mark Riso, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Many municipalities across the nation confront critical challenges due to aging water and wastewater infrastructure projects. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, an estimated $150 billion is currently needed for wastewater infrastructure needs. Many water systems require immediate repairs, upgrades, and replacement; however, funding is scarce. Part of the overall solution is low-interest financing for such projects which are made available to municipalities with state revolving funds (SRF). READ MORE.
An SRF is a fund administered by a state for the purpose of providing low-interest loans for investments in water and sanitation infrastructure such as sewage treatment, stormwater management facilities, and drinking water treatment. A SRF receives its initial capital from federal grants and state contributions. It then offers bonds that are guaranteed by the initial capital. It then "revolves" through the repayment of principal and the payment of interest on outstanding loans. There are two SRFs: the Clean Water State Revolving Fund under the Clean Water Act, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
What is Being Done About it and are SRF Programs Enough?
The recent $1.3 trillion Omnibus spending bill (as passed by Congress and signed by the President) includes almost $2.9 billion in funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan funds which will help state and local governments fund water treatment and other infrastructure. In addition, the bill includes new funding in the amount of $63 million for the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program that finances water infrastructure projects. This is positive - HOWEVER – this is only 2018 funding that will only last until September 30, 2018!
What Actions PHCC Needs to Take
WIFIA is a five-year pilot program (starting in 2014) focused on supporting large-scale projects that may be under-served by existing state revolving funds (SRFs). WIFIA is a federal credit program administered by EPA for eligible water and wastewater infrastructure projects. The program's mission is to:
accelerate investment in our nation's water and wastewater infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance under customized terms to creditworthy water and wastewater projects of national and regional significance.
WIFIA (set to expire at the end of 2018) needs to be reauthorized and needs to receive increased federal funding. WIFIA is currently being considered in the House and Senate. PHCC is meeting and working with the American Water Works Association, the Water Quality Association, and Plumbing Manufacturers International to reauthorize and increase funding for WIFIA. PHCC National is currently working (in conjunction with allied organizations) to build a campaign for WIFIA reauthorization and will soon involve PHCC members.