Senate committee water bill acknowledges need for federal funding

Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee is marking up S.1400, the Water Infrastructure Financing Act of 2005, a $38 billion, five year water funding bill. This is an important recognition of the need to address the estimated funding gap of $23 billion per year for water and wastewater infrastructure projects...

WASHINGTON, DC, July 20, 2005 -- Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee is marking up S.1400, the Water Infrastructure Financing Act of 2005, a $38 billion, five year water funding bill. This is an important recognition of the need to address the estimated funding gap of $23 billion per year for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

Ken Kirk, executive director of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), said that "Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member James Jeffords (I-VT), Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) of the EPW Committee are to be commended for taking the lead in addressing the most important infrastructure challenge facing our nation."

Hearings before the EPW Committee have repeatedly documented the urgent need to repair and replace aging and failing water and wastewater plants and pipes across the country. Kirk added that, " while S.1400 would authorize significant new funding for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds, as well as a substantial new grant assistance program, NACWA is concerned that the federal government will be unable to meet the authorized funding levels. Therefore, consideration must be given to a clean water trust fund, similar to those that exist for highways and aviation, to ensure financing for S.1400."

Again, NACWA is encouraged by the Committee's recognition of the usefulness of grants in addressing many of America's most pressing water infrastructure challenges. NACWA is committed to working with the bipartisan leadership of the EPW Committee to make long-term, sustainable clean water funding in America a reality in the 109th Congress.

NACWA (www.nacwa.org) is a national trade association representing hundreds of the nation's publicly owned wastewater treatment utilities. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. NACWA members are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's waters and public health.

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