By Mark Valentini, Director of Legislative Affairs
Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a partisan infrastructure bill. The $1.5 trillion, 2,300-page proposal places significant emphasis on surface transportation and climate change initiatives. However, provisions related to rebuilding schools, water infrastructure, and energy-efficient tax credits may be of interest to PHCC members.
H.R.2, the Moving Forward Act includes clean water investment provisions such as $1.5 billion to states for water quality improvement projects, in addition to $40 billion through FY2025 for clean water state revolving funds. The bill also requires the EPA to issue a report to Congress on current and future workforce needs for public wastewater treatment.
The bill also includes provisions for energy efficient tax credits under Sections 25C and 179D of the U.S. Tax Code. Currently, consumers who upgrade to energy-efficient HVAC systems are eligible for a tax credit (up to 10% for residential capped at $500, and $1.80 per square foot for commercial), but those provisions expire at the end of this year. H.R.2 extends those provisions through 2025 and increases the tax credit (up to 15% for residential capped at $1,200, and $3.00 per square foot for commercial). These increases would apply beginning January 1, 2021.
Provisions investing in public school facility construction and improvements are also part of the package. H.R.2 allocates up to $100 billion through FY2024 for school construction.
The partisan nature of H.R.2 means it will not be popular with Senate Republicans. Furthermore, with roughly 8 weeks left on the legislative calendar before elections, which will be taken up by law enforcement reform, COVID-19 relief, and the FY2021 budget, there is not much room to debate a comprehensive infrastructure bill until after elections.
Director of Legislative Affairs , PHCC-National Association