Nov 26, 2008

Water Agencies Deliver Spending Agenda to Obama

Report outlines agenda to rehabilitate the nation’s water infrastructure

Once he takes office in January, President-elect Barack Obama should craft an economic stimulus package that includes an aggressive program to rehabilitate the nation’s water infrastructure, according to the report “A National Agenda for Drinking Water,” sponsored by several water agencies.

The agenda outlined in the report includes the following key elements: the funding of the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural water loan and grant programs at a minimum of $1 billion annually; the provision of federal assistance to help water utilities become self-sustaining; and the establishment of innovative mechanisms— e.g., some form of infrastructure bank— for capitalizing water infrastructure projects.

The report flatly rejected any proposal to establish a federal water tax or other form of charge imposed on water utilities or customers. The organizations sponsoring the report were the American Water Works Association, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies and the National Rural Water Association.