Jan 08, 2009

Infrastructure Investment Could Create 400,000 Jobs

AWWA urges Congress to include drinking water infrastructure projects in stimulus legislation

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is urging Congress to include funding for drinking water infrastructure projects in the stimulus legislation now being considered.

Today, more than $10 billion in drinking water infrastructure projects around the nation are shovel-ready and can be underway as soon as funds are committed. These projects would put more than 400,000 Americans to work on aging water mains, leaking pipes, treatment plants, pump stations, storage reservoirs, elevated tanks, security safeguards and other needs.

"As Congress again considers legislation to stimulate the economy, the nation's drinking water utilities stand ready to create immediate jobs and lasting economic benefits through investment in water infrastructure," said Tom Curtis, AWWA's Washington D.C.-based deputy executive director.

While other forms of economic stimulus such as taxpayer refunds or stimulus checks may provide a quick infusion of money into the economy, their effects can be short-lived. By comparison, infrastructure projects benefit the economy over a more sustained period of time by creating quality jobs across all tax brackets, creating demand for the services and products that businesses and industry bring to market, and by providing long-lasting benefits to society as a whole, such as health protection and fire protection.

Local water systems across the country deliver water for all our society’s needs—from first responders to all aspects of our businesses and personal lives. But much of our water infrastructure was constructed between 80 and 100 years ago, and is nearing the end of its functional lifespan.

"Our water systems are critical to our public health and safety today and in the future, and there’s no better way to put Americans to work," Curtis said.

A 2001 study by AWWA estimated the cost of replacing existing pipes over the next two decades will top $250 billion.

Additional information on the impact of water infrastructure funding can be found at www.awwa.org/jobcreation.