Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure [November 27, 2013]   [open pdf - 398KB]

"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 for water infrastructure have recently been proposed, especially to supplement or complement existing financing tools. Some are intended to provide robust, longterm revenue to support existing financing programs and mechanisms. Some are intended to encourage private participation in furnishing drinking water and wastewater services. Six options that are reflected in recent legislative proposals, including budgetary implications, are discussed. [1] Increase funding for the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs in the Clean Water Act (H.R. 1877 in the 113th Congress) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (H.R. 5320 in the 111th Congress), [2] Create a federal water infrastructure trust fund (H.R. 1877 in the 113th Congress and H.R. 6249 in the 112th Congress), [3] Create a 'Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act' Program, or WIFIA (S. 601 and S. 335 in the 113th Congress), [4] Create a National Infrastructure Bank (H.R. 2084 and H.R. 505 in the 113th Congress), [5] Lift private activity bond restrictions on water infrastructure projects (included in the Administration's FY2014 budget request and S. 939 and H.R. 1802 in the 112th Congress), and [6] Reinstate authority for the issuance of Build America Bonds (included in the Administration's FY2014 budget request and H.R. 535 and H.R. 789 in the 113th Congress). A number of these issues and options were examined in hearings by House and Senate committees in the 112th Congress. Legislation to create a WIFIA program (S. 601) has been passed by the Senate and is being considered by a House-Senate conference committee."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42467
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