Budget Committee Urged to Allocate
$5.2 Billion for Infrastructure Loan Funds
Thirty-one senators urged the Senate Budget Committee in
a March 2 letter to provide $5.2 billion in combined fiscal year 2005
funding for the drinking water and wastewater state revolving funds.
The letter was signed by Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.), ranking member of
the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, 25 Democrats, and six
Republicans. The Budget Committee should make "clean water and drinking
water infrastructure a top environmental and health priority by
providing an allocation of $5.2 billion" for the two SRFs, the letter
The Budget Committee began consideration of the fiscal 2005 budget
resolution March 3.
Congress has appropriated for the past several years $1.35 billion for
the clean water SRF and about $800 million for the drinking water SRF,
money mostly used for water and sewer infrastructure projects. The money
is allocated to the states based on a prescribed formula.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency, municipal water and
wastewater groups, and others have estimated that an investment of
between $535 billion and $1 trillion over 20 years is needed to address
problems associated with aging infrastructure combined with increasing
demands from a growing population.
"An increase in funding for the Clean Water SRF to $3.2 billion and for
the Drinking Water SRF to $2 billion in fiscal year 2005 is the first
step necessary to meet the Federal government's longstanding commitment
in this regard," the letter said.
Separately, environmental advocates and municipalities plan to push for
a trust fund for water and wastewater infrastructure that is similar to
the dedicated funding sources for highways and airports .