For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2002
Contact: Michael Arceneaux
Water Infrastructure Budget Falls Short, Says WIN
Washington, DC - The Water Infrastructure Network today
expressed serious concern about the Administration's fiscal year 2003 budget for drinking
water and wastewater infrastructure funding. For the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund,
the Administration proposed the same amount as last year - only $850 million. For the
Clean Water State Revolving Fund, only $1.25 billion was proposed, which is $100 million
less than fiscal year 2002. The drinking water SRF has yet to be budgeted at its
authorized level of $1 billion per year, and funding for the clean water SRF has remained
flat for several years.
According to the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) -
consisting of nearly 40 organizations representing drinking water and wastewater agencies,
local elected officials, labor, environmentalists and engineering and construction firms,
the budget proposal falls far short of infrastructure needs. Hearings last year before the
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works documented a shortfall of up to $1
trillion in the needed level of investment for meeting federal requirements and the repair
and replacement of aging infrastructure over the next twenty years.
Local governments and utility ratepayers currently
shoulder over 90 percent of all spending on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
However, says WIN, they cannot fund all that is needed in the next five years without
significant federal assistance.
Replacing aging treatment plants and pipes and meeting
federal requirements without federal assistance often requires diverting scarce funds from
other important local priorities, such as police and fire protection. If the nation is
committed to safe drinking water and clean lakes and rivers, there must be a significant
financial commitment to assist local governments in meeting the costs of clean and safe
WIN is asking Congress to commit $57 billion over the
next five years for investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. This is
half the amount of the spending shortfall documented by WIN over that period, and if fully
funded, still leaves the federal share of drinking water and wastewater funding at less
than 20 percent of total spending.
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To see the nearly 40 organization that make up WIN, go to www.win-water.org.