May 08, 2020

$19.5 Billion Water Infrastructure Package Moves Up in Senate

A major water infrastructure package has advanced in the Senate

water infrastructure

A major water infrastructure package advanced in the Senate, approved by votes of 21-0. 

The committee approved legislation authorizing approximately $19.5 billion for Army Corps of Engineers projects and EPA wastewater treatment and drinking water programs, according to the Engineering-News Records.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the two separate bills May 6.

The first bill cleared is America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA), which authorizes $4.9 billion for 25 Army Corps projects and $7.5 billion over three years for EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs), which assist with the financing of wastewater treatment facilities. The cost of the 25 projects in the bill is  $7,891.9 billion, counting non-federal funding shares, according to the bill.

The other bill approved is the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, which would provide $1.25 billion for the EPA Drinking Water SRF.

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All of the funds in the two bills would be subject to annual congressional appropriations, according to Engineering-News Record. The two water bills were approved, along with a $287 billion, five-year highway measure that the panel approved last July. 

The next step for the legislation is floor action, but how this bill may move forward is unclear.

The bills could proceed with the measures as stand-alone bills or by combining them with other legislation, such as the committee's highway bill, reported the Engineering-News Record.

According to the Northwest Arkansas Gazette, the bill also requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide assistance to non-federal stakeholders that are seeking to deepen the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River navigation channel, which is a key shipping route across Arkansas, to a minimum depth of 12 feet.

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