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North Dakota and Wyoming Congressional Delegations Push for State Control of Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

USEPA Releases Updated Water Quality Criteria for Ammonia in Freshwater

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U.S. House Version of WRDA Bill Does Not Include WIFIA

U.S. CapitolPrior to the government shutdown that began on October 1, the U.S. House's version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2013 was expected to be voted on by the full House in October. Depending on the length of the shutdown, the vote will likely be delayed by several weeks. The longest federal shutdown in the country's history occurred in 1995, and it last three weeks.

Unfortunately, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) that was included in the U.S. Senate's version of WRDA that passed in May has been removed from the House version. If the full House passes WRDA after the shutdown ends, it is possible that WIFIA could be added to the bill during conference committee negotiations.

WIFIA would leverage $50 million of annual appropriations over five years for low-interest loans on major water and wastewater infrastructure projects. It would also help community water systems of all sizes by providing a supplemental funding mechanism to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs for the completion of projects with costs greater than $20 million. This would reduce the financial demand from large projects and allow the existing SRF programs to fund more of the smaller projects throughout the country. In order to provide increased flexibility to predominantly rural states, SRF programs experiencing an increased demand for loan funds would also have the ability to access WIFIA financing by aggregating the costs of multiple smaller projects to reach a combined loan amount of $20 million or more. WIFIA would in turn borrow U.S. Treasury funds to provide low-interest loans, loan guarantees, or other credit support to local communities.

The pilot WIFIA program is modeled after the existing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program that has been providing similar financial assistance to the nation's transportation infrastructure since 1998. To access more information about WIFIA, click here to read the AWWA, Water Environment Federation, and Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies' white paper on the subject.

 


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