Water service contributes to nearly every aspect of our lives, from public health to productivity and economic development. Much of the infrastructure that supports our water is aging and in need of repair or replacement. Major infrastructure projects typically require more money than local utilities have on hand. That is why they look for low-cost loans or similar tools such as tax-exempt municipal bonds, public-private partnerships, the state revolving loan fund (SRF) or more recently, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program to finance projects.
Years of advocacy by AWWA members for increased investment in the nation’s water infrastructure is paying off again in the 117th Congress as a number of bills are in play now either focused on water infrastructure or containing a significant infrastructure component. In addition, the Biden Administration has issued its own American Jobs Plan that would invest in water infrastructure in a major way.
Here are the key bills that have been introduced:
S. 914 – Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (reauthorization of water infrastructure loan programs, plus funding for activities such as lead service line removal, PFAS treatment, pilot program to help low-income customers)
H.R. 1848 – Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act, or the LIFT America Act (drinking water, broadband, healthcare and clean energy infrastructure)
H.R. 1512 – Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s Future Act or CLEAN Future Act (broad climate change policy, plus drinking water infrastructure)
H.R. 1915 – Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act (wastewater infrastructure)