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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 said.

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 .

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