February SWIC Newsletter

In January, congressmen reintroduced H.R. 499, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act of 2015, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition (SWIC), the advocacy group supporting the bill and private activity bond legislation says it expects the bill to be introduced in the Senate in the coming weeks.??????
The bipartisan legislation would remove water and wastewater projects from restrictive private activity bond (PAB) state volume caps, encouraging public-private partnerships and enabling private capital investment for water and wastewater infrastructure.

Communities across the country are faced with the challenge of aging and outdated water and wastewater systems in which much of the existing infrastructure has reached or is approaching the end of its useful life. Recent U.S. EPA water and wastewater reports estimate more than $600 billion in infrastructure improvements are needed over the next 20 years to meet safe drinking water and sanitation standards. Municipal investment in these projects will be difficult as many states and local governments face budget constraints, revenue shortfalls and opposition to new taxes.
Rep Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn)Removing water and wastewater projects from the state volume cap could generate as much as $5 billion annually in private capital investment for water and wastewater infrastructure projects, according to former EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. Moreover, each dollar invested in sewer systems and water projects today will generate $2.03 in federal, state and local tax receipts over 20 years, according to a recent study commissioned by the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED).?

Rep. John ?Jimmy? Duncan (R-Tenn.), who introduced the legislation with longtime PAB champion Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), underscored the pressing need for innovative financing for America?s environmental infrastructure. ?Much of our Nation?s water infrastructure is more than 100-years old, and this bill will empower more states and towns to raise the funds needed to address this growing problem,? Duncan said. ?Our Nation’s health, quality of life, and economic well-being rely on adequate wastewater treatment and access to clean water.?

Rep. Duncan was named Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the 114th Congress and SWIC looks forward to helping him advance this legislation in conjunction with pending surface transportation legislation and other infrastructure measures.?

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.)Rep. Pascrell?s tireless advocacy as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee will continue to ensure PAB language is considered in a range of bills debated by the tax panel.

?Our common sense solution not only invests in our nation’s aging infrastructure, but it creates good paying construction jobs that are literally beneath our feet in a way that costs the taxpayers very little,? Pascrell said.??It’s a win for our infrastructure, our environment and our economy.?

Community and Industry Support

The water and wastewater PAB legislation is supported by public and private water and wastewater service providers and more than 85 organizations representing all aspects of the water industry, including the Associated General Contractors of America, John Deere, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Council of Engineering Companies, McWane Inc., and other pipe manufacturers, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority, NUCA of Pennsylvania, Distribution Contractors Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Water Environment Federation, the American Public Works Association, Laborers’ International Union of North America, International Union of Operating Engineers, Council of Development Finance Agencies, Bond Market Association, Vermeer, PVC Pipe Association, United Rentals, and the Associated Equipment Distributors. The National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Governors Association, National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors also support removing the state PAB volume cap for public water and wastewater infrastructure.???

?The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act will increase private investment, create jobs, and address years of underfunding in one of our nation?s greatest resources ? clean water. The legislation could generate $6 billion in construction equipment demand over the next decade while supporting nearly 1,000 equipment industry jobs over that time,? said Tim Watters, AED 2014 Chairman and President & CEO of Hoffman Equipment Co. in Piscataway, N.J.

White House Support

The administrations of President Barack Obama and George W. Bush have supported water PAB legislation and have included the proposal in annual budget requests to Congress. However, the infrastructure finance proposal awaits Congressional approval. According to the White House, the President will continue to do whatever he can to promote American economic growth where there is need or opportunity. ?And right now, there is a real opportunity to put private capital to work in revitalizing U.S. infrastructure.?

Your Support

Now is the time to open the door to private capital investment in America?s environmental infrastructure. Contact your Congressman at 202-224-3121 or www.house.gov and ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 499, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act.


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