October SWIC Newsletter

The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition (SWIC) is a broad-based group of public and private organizations representing organizations from all aspects of the water community including water and wastewater utilities, financial institutions, engineering companies, pipe and equipment manufacturers and suppliers and facets of the excavation and construction industry.
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As we enter the final months of a turbulent election year, when already low-expectations sink even lower, it is important to remember the progress made during the second session of the 113th Congress. After months of delays in the introduction of a wide range of tax legislation out of the House Ways and Means Committee, SWIC was pleased to help with the introduction and advancement of House and Senate legislation that would lift the state volume cap on private activity bonds (PABs) that fund water and wastewater infrastructure.

On March 13, 2014, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act of 2014 (HR 4237) was introduced in the House by Reps. Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). Rep. Duncan, a longtime supporter of water PAB legislation and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee?s Special Panel on Public-Private Partnerships, underscored the need for investment in America?s water and wastewater infrastructure, pointing out that ?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.?

On May 15, SWIC was happy to see Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduce the senate version of the bill (S. 2345), which is identical to the Duncan/Pascrell legislation.

?This bill would allow local communities to leverage private capital markets in combination with other financial mechanisms to finance water and wastewater infrastructure projects,? Sen. Crapo said. ?It makes financial sense for communities and will improve public health and water quality.?

In early June, Sen. Menendez and Rep. Pascrell held a joint press conference in Cliffside Park, N.J., to discuss the PAB legislation. A number of SWIC members joined these lawmakers, including leaders of the Associated Equipment Distributors and United Water, as well as several members of the Laborers International Union of North America.

During this year?s debate over how to address the pending shortfall to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), Sen. Menendez offered PAB language as an amendment to the ?HTF fix? legislation when it was considered by the Senate Finance Committee. Unfortunately, along with a long list of other amendments, Sen. Menendez?s amendment did not see a vote before the HTF measure was approved. The HTF legislation provides funding for surface transportation projects through May 2015.

SWIC will continue to build support for the PAB legislation in the remaining weeks of the 113th Congress and looks forward to ensuring introduction and advancement of a new PAB bill early next year. Ongoing efforts to craft a multiyear transportation bill will offer significant opportunities for inclusion of PAB language, and SWIC will be there from day one.

SWIC Member Spotlight: John Deere

John Deere, an active member of SWIC?s Steering Committee, is proud to manufacture and support the construction equipment necessary to rebuild our nation?s infrastructure. While agriculture is the largest user of freshwater today, industrial, municipal, and environmental uses are increasingly competing for this limited resource. All signs point toward increased competition for freshwater in the future.
?Safe and reliable water infrastructure requires maintenance, rehabilitation and when necessary ? replacement,? said Candace Schnoor, Director of Public Affairs, John Deere Construction and Forestry Division. ?Not only are these investments critical to providing clean drinking water to our nation?s residents, but keeping water flowing to business and industry is essential to the economic viability of our country and its competitiveness.?
John Deere is committed to work with other leaders throughout America in asking Congress to protect our way of life by investing in water infrastructure and removing barriers to additional investments in these critical water systems. Important legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to lift the state volume cap on private activity bonds for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. This legislation has the potential to generate billions in private capital for the infrastructure market at a very low cost to government. This action is a positive step towards rebuilding our aging infrastructure.
?John Deere is strongly and uniquely positioned to help our customers meet global needs for new infrastructure by providing premier construction equipment solutions and related services,? Schnoor said. ?We have the opportunity, and a responsibility, to help the world grow in sustainable ways.?
For more information, visit www.JohnDeere.com.

Now is the time to open the door to private capital investment in America?s environmental infrastructure. Call your Congressmen and U.S Senators at 202-224-3121 and ask them to co-sponsor the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act, in the House, H.R. 4237, and in the Senate, S.2345.

The SWIC Newsletter for UIM is co-authored by SWIC co-executive directors Bruce Morgan, Principal of Water Policy Associates, and Eben Wyman, Principal of Wyman Associates. Bruce can be reached at bruce@waterpolicyassociates.com and Eben, at 703-750-1326 or eben@wymanassociates.net.????

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