Arndt, Grumbles Testify to Congress on Water Infrastructure Financing

In testimony on March 13 before a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee, the American Water Works Association called for strengthening existing water infrastructure finance tools and advocated for creation of a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority.

Aurel Arndt, general manager of Lehigh County Authority in Allentown, Pa., spoke on behalf of AWWA before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

?The fact that the United States needs to invest much more in its water infrastructure is widely accepted these days,? he said. ?The hard question centers on how to do that.?

AWWA is urging Congress to do the following:

  • Keep the current tax-exempt status for municipal bonds;
  • Eliminate the annual volume caps for private activity bonds for water infrastructure projects
  • Maintain funding for robust drinking water and wastewater state revolving loan fund programs;
  • Enact WIFIA to offer meaningful assistance to communities in a modern, cost-effective way at the lowest possible cost to federal taxpayers.

U.S. Water Alliance President Ben Grumbles also testified Wednesday before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies. ?You can?t sustain a world-class economy with a second class water infrastructure system,? warned Grumbles.? ?That?s what we?ll have if we don?t act with vision and courage, nationally as well as locally.??

Grumbles was asked to testify based on his previous involvement at the federal and state levels, but most importantly because of the leading role the U.S. Water Alliance plays in convening leaders to explore solutions through integration, innovation and collaboration. Suggesting a path with solutions, Grumbles explained, ?We can avoid a crisis if we work together to shift the water paradigm from ??invisible to invaluable,? increase public-private partnerships, and ?foster innovative, ?one water? solutions involving green infrastructure and resource recovery.??

The U.S. Water Alliance represents a diverse range of interests seeking to advance more holistic watershed-based approaches.? It has been a national focal point for bringing together a one water management network.? It has also drawn attention to green infrastructure and resource recovery through its annual conference on urban water sustainability.?

In addition to Grumbles, Howard Neukrug, Philadelphia?s water commissioner and vice chair of the U.S. Water Alliance, also testified on behalf of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies as well as representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Government Accountability Office, the American Water Works Association, American Water and the National Association of Water Companies. Grumbles complete testimony can be found on the Alliance website at www.USWaterAlliance.org.

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