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Water Infrastructure Takes Center Stage at House and Senate Hearings

Jason Jordan reports on House and Senate subcommittee hearings this week that focused on water infrastructure concerns and a proposed new program to better address funding and financing options.
March 2, 2012, 5am PST | Alesia Hsiao
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Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress seem to agree that funding for water infrastructure needs to be improved.

A new financing mechanism, based to popular TIFIA program for transportation projects, was the main focus in the subcommittee hearings. The proposed Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation Authority (WIFIA) could help solve the lack of financial assistance for water projects across the nation.

According to Jodan, "WIFIA would provide a mix of loans and loan guarantees for water projects. Other financing ideas discussed included lifting state caps on private activity bonds that can help private companies obtain low-interest financing for water projects, expanding tax exemption status for private activity bonds for water projects, and reauthorizing state revolving funds that are used to finance projects."

Although there is clear need for investment aids in our water systems, "the Obama administration's budget proposal calls for a 15 percent cut in the two primary water loan funds."

There will be continued discussion about water funding among the House and the Senate, and new legislation is forthcoming.

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Published on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 in APA
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