The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) testified before House appropriators to encourage higher funding for the Environmental Protection Agencys Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program in 2004. SRF programs provide critical resources to states for the repair and installation of Americas water and wastewater infrastructure.
On Wednesday, April 9, NUCA contractor-member Bill Bowman, of William Bowman Associates, Inc., in West Berlin, N.J., discussed SRF funding with members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD and Independent Agencies, which has jurisdiction over SRF annual appropriations. Bowmans message was clear: the SRF programs need immediate substantial funding increases, beginning in FY 2004.
"Once again, NUCA members were called for their unique insight on our water infrastructure needs and the SRF programs role in addressing them," said NUCA Chief Executive Officer Bill Hillman. "Bowman very effectively articulated the case for increased SRF appropriations."
Bowmans testimony described the enormous estimates of the nations water and wastewater infrastructure needs, the widening gap between what is needed and what is spent, and the success of the SRF programs in New Jersey and across the country. The nations water and wastewater needs are "expected to rise to more than $650 billion," Bowman said, adding that "the EPAs own funding gap estimates exceed $534 billion if we continue at present rates of capitalization."
Increasing the federal commitment to the SRF is imperative to closing the spending gap, according to NUCA. The SRF program provides a key source of funding to build and improve wastewater treatment plants; control agricultural, rural, and urban runoff; improve estuaries; control wet weather overflows; and restore brownfield sites. Bowman spoke of the SRF programs success in leveraging approximately $20 billion in federal capitalization grants into more than $38 billion in perpetually revolving loans . "The SRF program is by all accounts an efficient, fiscally sound, and environmentally successful partnership that enhances public health, creates thousands of jobs, and improves the quality of life for communities across America," he said.
Bowman recommended that the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee enact a total of $5.2 billion funding level for the Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF programs, as outlined by the Senates recently passed budget resolution. "Sufficient federal seed money must be invested to ensure that human and environmental costs of the multibillion dollar funding gap are prevented. Providing $5.2 billion toward our environmental infrastructure would be a big step in the right direction," Bowman said.