Senate Committee Releases Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Bill
Last week Congress took an important step in keeping its promise to authorize a water resources development bill (WRDA) entitled America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. While not a spending bill, WRDA authorizes billions in funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works projects, including navigation (dredging, locks), flood control (levees), hydropower (dams), recreation (parks), and water supply. This bill would authorize about $2.4 billion of new federal spending on six projects involving disaster recovery. Additionally, the bill includes several provisions impacting drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. AGC applauds Congress for returning to a regular two year authorization of WRDA and is advocating for reform.
Notable highlights from bill include:
- Five Year Plan – Requires the Corps of Engineers to provide Congress with a work plan and four-year projected budget on an annual basis
- P3 Pilot Program – Extends the authorizations of the non-federal implementation pilot programs at $50 million for both 2020 and 2021
- Authorized Projects – The Senate authorized fewer projects than in recent WRDA bills. While the reason for this is unclear, it is expected that the House will authorize more projects
- Reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA)
- Language establishing a water infrastructure workforce development program
- A sense of Congress that the State Revolving Funds should continue receiving robust federal support
Disappointingly, the Senate bill does not include the AGC-supported Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure NOW (SRF-WIN) Act, which would authorize additional funding for WIFIA and allow for these funds to be accessed by State Revolving Funds for drinking and wastewater. Nor does it include AGC’s recommendations that would have streamlined duplicative environmental reviews before the Corps of Engineers can initiate a water infrastructure project.
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.