Congress recently passed and President Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act that authorizes more than $8 billion for a wide range of undertakings. The measure divides the total dollars, with $3.7 billion dedicated to Army Corps of Engineers work and $4.4 billion for drinking-water projects.
The legislation includes authorization of the Water Development Resources Act (WDRA), giving the Army Corps of Engineers funds for work on items such as locks and dams on the nation’s rivers, which are used to convey commodities, including aggregates and grain. “A WDRA bill establishes the priorities,” said Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of Soy Transportation Coalition in a harvestpublicmedia.org story.
Reauthorization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for the first time since 2003 is included in the act. It doubles the loan program’s authorized spending to $1.95 billion by the third year.
Loan program included
Additionally, the legislation included the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program for two years at $50 million annually. It also removed WIFIA’s pilot designation. “The reauthorization of WIFIA at $50 million – and the fact that it is no longer a ‘pilot’ – is a significant milestone and a great victory for the entire water sector,” said American Water Works Association CEO David LaFrance.
Other organizations also hailed the bipartisan bill, which both the House of Representatives and the Senate overwhelmingly passed. “This legislation reinforces the critical role that municipal water infrastructure plays in communities all across the nation, as well as the need for robust federal funding to help support this infrastructure,” said Adam Krantz, CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. “The association thanks Congress for its leadership on this issue and is committed to continued efforts to elevate water as a top national priority.”