Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure [August 9, 2012]   [open pdf - 358KB]

"This report addresses several options being considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs. Some of the options exist and are well established, but they are under discussion for expansion or modification. Other innovative policy options have recently been proposed in connection with water infrastructure, especially to supplement or complement existing financing tools. Some are intended to provide robust, long-term revenue to support existing financing programs and mechanisms. Some are intended to encourage private participation in furnishing drinking water and wastewater services. […] Consensus exists among many stakeholders--state and local governments, equipment manufacturers and construction companies, and environmental advocates--on the need for more investment in water infrastructure. There is no consensus supporting a preferred option or policy, and many advocate a combination that will expand the financing 'toolbox' for projects. Some of the options discussed in this report may be helpful, but there is no single method that will address needs fully or close the financing gap completely. For example, some may be helpful to projects in large urban or multi-jurisdictional areas, while others may be more beneficial in smaller communities. It is unlikely that any of the recently proposed options could be up and running quickly, meaning that, at least for the near term, communities will continue to rely on the existing SRF [State Revolving Fund] programs, tax-exempt governmental bonds, and tax-exempt private activity bonds to finance their water infrastructure needs."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42467
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