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June 26, 2014

WIFIA passes!

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This week the U.S. Congress approved the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act as part of broader water resources development legislation (H.R. 3080). This is a tremendous accomplishment for AWWA and all of you who supported the WIFIA concept over the years. We expect the bill to be signed by the President soon.
There is still work to do to make WIFIA achieve its full potential, and AWWA intends to make correcting deficiencies in the pilot program a high priority in the next Congress. Currently the bill includes reforms to "modernize" the Clean Water SRF program so that it will now work more like the Drinking Water SRF. The Clean Water SRF program will now cover a wider range of projects and make below market loans and partial grants.

The bill also applies American Iron and Steel (AIS) requirements to both WIFIA and the Clean Water SRF, which means that no funds may be provided unless all of the iron and steel products used in the project are made in the United States. A waiver provision allows projects to go forward if the Administrator finds that 1) applying the requirement would be inconsistent with the public interest; 2) needed products are not produced in the United States in sufficient quantities or satisfactory quality; or 3) the use of American iron and steel would increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent. AWWA’s stand on AIS was that the provisions must be clear and easily understood with a reasonable "escape ramp," allowing the use of non-American iron and steel products where that is warranted.

You can read a summary of the bill prepared for AWWA by the Washington, DC law firm Patton Boggs on our website.

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