Water Infrastructure Funding Bill Introduced in Congress
WASHINGTON — US Reps. Sue Kelly, R-NY, and Ellen O. Tauscher, D-CA, this
week introduced in the House of Representatives a bipartisan Clean Water
Infrastructure Financing Act of 2003 (HR 20), which would provide $25
billion over five years for the state revolving fund used for
much-needed water and wastewater infrastructure upgrade and
The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA)
applauded the move as a significant grant component to aid distressed
communities who must improve water and wastewater systems.
AMSA said in a news release that the bill is an important demonstration
that the 108th Congress remains committed to clean water infrastructure
funding and constitutes a first step toward an ultimate solution to the
water infrastructure funding shortfall which resides in a long-term,
sustainable funding source.
"The United States faces a looming crisis to the nation's wastewater
infrastructure, as pipes and systems age and are in desperate need of
upgrade and repair," said Ken Kirk, AMSA executive director of AMSA.
"Municipalities now shoulder 90 percent of these infrastructure costs,
but they cannot continue to foot this massive infrastructure bill alone,
especially as local budgets continue to shrink and municipalities face
daunting security costs.
"Without a serious, long-term commitment from the federal government,
the wastewater infrastructure funding need over the next twenty years
will only rise dramatically and we will have missed our opportunity to
ensure the nation's clean water future".
AMSA has been a vocal member of the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN),
a coalition of interests seeking federal help to lose the gap between
funds allocated for infrastructure and funds actually needed for such
In WIN's report, Clean and Safe Water for the 21st Century, the group
said a $12 billion annual shortfall exists for wastewater infrastructure
over the next twenty years.
These startling estimates have been bolstered by the US Environmental
Protection Agency, the Government Accounting Office, and the
Congressional Budget Office, demonstrating the enormity of the water
infrastructure funding need, AMSA said.
To overcome the funding shortfall, AMSA is calling on Congress and the
president to act swiftly on new legislation to finance a long-term,
sustainable, and reliable source of funding for clean water, focusing on
critical "core" wastewater infrastructure needs.
AMSA said it hopes the bill will spur bipartisan support in Congress for
such a solution and will continue to work with Representatives Kelly and
Tauscher, and the 108th Congress toward this end.
AMSA is a national trade association representing hundreds of the
nation's publicly owned wastewater utilities.
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