Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced the bipartisan Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now Act to modernize investments in water infrastructure.
This legislation rejects the fix-as-fail approach currently used to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and instead empowers states to invest in multiple water infrastructure projects. The bill combines the best aspects of state revolving funds with the leveraging power of the Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act to make the process easier and more affordable for states to meet their underserved or unmet water infrastructure needs.
“We can no longer afford to put off repairs to our nation’s aging water infrastructure,” said Senator Feinstein. “California alone has a more than $7 billion backlog in needed improvements and repairs to our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Our bipartisan bill will provide low-cost loans to facilitate desperately needed investments to ensure access to safe, clean water.”
“We have a more than $500 billion shortfall for water infrastructure funding in this country,” said Senator Boozman. “This is a national emergency. Access to safe and clean water is critical to the livelihood of every American. This legislation is an innovative approach to helping communities of all sizes, in every state secure loans so they can improve their crumbling infrastructure.”
“This bipartisan legislation I’ve worked on with Senator Boozman will help provide desperately needed federal investment in water infrastructure in New Jersey and communities across the country,” said Senator Booker. “By expanding the use of innovative practices and authorizing new funding, this bill will leverage tens of billions of dollars to make dramatic improvements to our country’s drinking water and wastewater systems.”
“Oklahoma communities are struggling to supply water to their growing populations, upgrade water infrastructure that is beyond its useful life, and keep up with the multitude of unfunded federal mandates they must comply with,” said Senator Inhofe. “These issues are not unique to Oklahoma and this legislation will give states greater flexibility to set priorities and get projects off the ground.”
This legislation would:
- Authorize $200 million annually over five years to support state revolving fund projects exclusively.
- Encourage states to bundle their projects by waiving the $100,000 application fee and streamlining the application process to a maximum 180-day turnaround.
- Simplify the federal approval process by allowing thousands of vetted drinking water and wastewater projects to receive funding, eliminating the need for the Environmental Protection Agency to process thousands of additional loan applications.
- Preserve the successful state revolving funds and the Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act loan program.
Congressmen John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.