Bipartisan WRDA Bill Wraps Up
Last week, House and Senate negotiators wrapped up a compromise water infrastructure bill that is expected to head to the two chambers for final passage later this month. The compromise bill (S. 3021) is expansive, addressing both fundamental U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues as well as general water infrastructure programs at USEPA. Several important provisions to CASA were part of the package including:
- Designating WIFIA as a permanent program, deleting its pilot status and authorizing funding of at least $50 million for 2019 and $50 million for 2020;
- Creating a new SRF-WIN program designed as “WIFIA for states” that would allow for 100% of a project's costs to be funded if run through a state's SRF. Funding of the new program is contingent upon Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF programs being funded at FY 2018 levels or 105% of the prior year's appropriation (whichever is greater);
- Creation of sewer and stormwater reuse grants for municipalities to manage, treat or reuse stormwater flows. A total of $225 million would be authorized for each of years 2019 through 2025. Within this new program would be authority to fund green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative activities.
S. 3021 now heads for final votes in the Senate and House. The strong bipartisan support for the bill is expected to result in final passage prior to Congress recessing for the elections at the end of the month.