May 17, 2011

Water Officials Applaud 2011 Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act

National Assn. of Water Co. executives urge Congress to pass legislation for water infrastructure improvements

National Assn. of Water Co. officials applaud Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J., and Geoffrey Davis, R-Ky., for introducing the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act of 2011, a bill that will stimulate the economy through investment in our nation’s aging water infrastructure.

The public water infrastructure in our nation’s communities provides Americans clean and affordable water 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This reliable service provides great value to families and businesses. In fact, no business in this country can thrive, or even exist, without a sustainable water supply.

While Americans benefit from this critical water infrastructure, many public water systems are threatened by age, deterioration and lack of investment. To continue protecting public and environmental health and economic vitality across the country, significant new investments are needed. Powerful financing tools such as exempt facility bonds will encourage private capital investment, create jobs and provide more affordable financing for our essential water infrastructure.

This bicameral, bipartisan legislation provides states and municipalities with a greater ability to invest in their water and wastewater infrastructure by partnering with professional private water companies, including transferring financial risk through the removal of state volume caps on private activity bonds for public-purpose water facilities. The removal of this constraint will bring together the power of public water service and free enterprise.

A removal on bond caps for water projects will bring funding for this piece of the nation’s critical infrastructure in line with airports, high-speed rail and solid waste disposal, which are all currently exempt from existing caps. The bill will also generate significant tax revenue for state and local governments across the country.

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the revenue impact of the bill would be $354 million over 10 years, which would lead to up to $50 billion in private capital into water infrastructure projects while supporting 1.4 million jobs.