Senate passes WRDA, water sector responds
The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 passed with a broad bi-partisan vote of 95 to 3.
WASHINGTON, DC, SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 -- On behalf of a diverse coalition of organizations representing the drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, flood risk management and local government sectors, we congratulate the Senate for passing S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 with a broad bi-partisan vote of 95 to 3. This strong vote reflects the wide-spread support among Members of Congress and the American people for bolstering federal investment in our nation's water infrastructure.
S. 2848 not only authorizes critical U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects that drive investment in navigation, flood management, and ecosystem restoration, it provides critical investment to help communities reduce public health risks posed by lead, targets aid to rural drinking water systems, bolsters funding for water technology innovation, jumpstarts an innovative financing program for water infrastructure projects, and makes common sense reforms to the Clean Water Act (CWA) to ensure clean water investments remain affordable to lower-income ratepayers.
"The U.S. Conference of Mayors appreciates the commitment and tireless efforts of Senators James Inhofe and Barbara Boxer to pulling together a WRDA package that authorizes strong investment in our water infrastructure and recognizes that the federal government must continue to be a partner with local communities in ensuring all Americans have access to clean and safe water," said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
"The National League of Cities welcomes the Senate's Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) package for recognizing the critical role our water infrastructure plays in ensuring healthy cities and vibrant local economies," said Clarence Anthony, Executive Director of the National League of Cities (NLC). "NLC applauds this bipartisan measure, which provides support to local governments struggling to meet unfunded mandates, a much needed aid package for the city of Flint and invaluable investment in our drinking and wastewater infrastructure."
"The National Association of Counties is pleased that the Senate took action today in support of a very significant package of investment in our nation's water infrastructure. The Senate vote on WRDA demonstrates that water infrastructure investment is a bipartisan issue and deserves the support of all Americans," said Matthew Chase, Executive Director of the National Association of Counties.
"The National Association of Clean Water Agencies is excited to see the Senate coming together in a strong bi-partisan fashion in favor of significant investment for clean water and to provide stronger tools to help communities afford this infrastructure," said Adam Krantz, Chief Executive Officer of NACWA.
"The Senate's bipartisan passage of S. 2848 is an important victory for our nation's water infrastructure. The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies is particularly pleased the legislation offers assistance to help communities and homeowners work together to remove lead service lines, and capitalizes the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program with credit subsidies that should deliver at least $700 million worth of low-interest water and wastewater infrastructure loans to cities and towns nationwide," said Diane VanDe Hei, Chief Executive Officer of AMWA.
"The National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA) very much appreciates the Senate acting today to approve WRDA 2016, action that will help to keep this critical water resources legislation on a two-year reauthorization cycle," said Susan Gilson, NAFSMA Executive Director
"The American Public Works Association appreciates the considerable leadership of Senators James Inhofe and Barbara Boxer to steer the Water Resources Development Act through the Senate. The Senate's bipartisan support of WRDA showcases the importance of preserving our flood control, drinking water, and other water infrastructure. APWA encourages the House of Representatives to complete WRDA before the end of 2016," said Scott Grayson, Executive Director of the American Public Works Association.
"The U.S. Senate has taken an essential step towards revitalizing our critical water infrastructure. Additionally, this investment in the water sector will provide a welcome boost to innovative programs in technology and finance that will benefit public health and the environment." said Rob Renner, CEO of the Water Research Foundation.
"The strong bi-partisan support for WRDA is a recognition that livability and economic security depend on a safe, reliable supply of water. The WateReuse Association congratulates the Senate for moving this important legislation forward," said WateReuse President Guy Carpenter.
"The National Association of Regional Councils commends Senate leaders for their bipartisan efforts to move these important investments in our nation's water infrastructure. Communities throughout the nation will benefit from this critical partnership in clean and safe water," said Leslie Wollack, NARC Executive Director.
"The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) applauds this bipartisan effort to authorize additional technical assistance programs for small community water systems," said RCAP Executive Director, Robert Stewart. "We thank Senators Inhofe and Boxer for their leadership on this important issue and for their work on a bipartisan basis to address rural America's substantial water infrastructure needs. This legislation is integral to achieving long-term sustainability of rural communities and water systems throughout the United States, while ensuring that all Americans have access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water."
"The Water Resources Development Act is an important bill for our economy, public health, safety, and environmental resources. Given that the United States' ailing infrastructure costs each American family $9 a day, this is the kind of leadership and legislation we need to change the trajectory of our underinvestment. As civil engineers, we thank the Senate for passing this comprehensive legislation. Now it is time for the House of Representatives to follow suit – to do its job and move their bill (H.R.5303) to the floor," said Mark W. Woodson, P.E., president, American Society of Civil Engineers.
"The WRDA bill passed by the Senate contains many important provisions to help our nation address its drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure needs," said Eileen O'Neill, Executive Director of the Water Environment Federation. "Among them are provisions to support research and development, bolster Congress' commitment to infrastructure funding, and help ratepayers and utilities dealing with affordability challenges. WEF applauds the Senate's bold action, and urges Congress to include these provisions in the final Act."