Reps. Pascrell, Duncan Reintroduce Critical Water Infrastructure Legislation

For nearly three years, numerous U.S. water companies, organizations and advocates have lobbied Congress to reintroduce a significant piece of legislation to assist in the financing of water and sewer projects in the United States. Last Thursday, those groups? efforts took a big step forward as Reps. John Duncan (R-Tenn.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) reintroduced the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act of 2014.

The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act, H.R. 4237, would exempt Private Activity Bonds for the building of water and sewage facilities from the volume cap, which would ultimately accelerate and increase the overall investment in the nation?s water infrastructure. The bill was first introduced in Congress in May 2011 but was not enacted.

It is estimated that the bill would open the door for up to $5 billion annually in private investment for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

The bill was first authored by Rep. Pascrell (right/top), who, since 2007, has served on the House Ways and Means Committee which oversees numerous economic issues including tax policy, health care, international trade and entitlement programs.?Although he bill was not enacted, Pascrell has remained an important advocate for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act.
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?This bill encourages private capital to be employed for the public benefit by using tax-exempt private activity bonds (PABs) for the repair, maintenance and building of water and wastewater systems, said Pascrell at a recent water and wastewater policy forum in the U.S. Capitol. ?It is estimated that this bill will unleash up to $50 billion in private capital.?

Up until recently, it was unclear who would be the Republican lead for the bill. Congressman Duncan (right/bottom), who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and chairs the Public Private Partnership (P3) panel, recently agreed to lead the legislation.

?[This] bill will help with the recovery and will create jobs ? ?approximately 1.4 million jobs just with this legislation,? continued Pascrell. ?The bill will directly contribute to the economy ? for every dollar of water and sewer infrastructure investment, it adds $8.97 to the economy, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.?It makes sense, it is reasonable and it is a very conservative way to invest in our own economy.?

The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition (SWIC) is the lead organization in efforts to garner support for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act. The Coalition authors a bi-monthly newsletter with important legislative updates for UIM. For more information on the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act and recent activities regarding its advocacy, see recent SWIC newsletter in the February issue of UIM: http://uimonline.com/index/webapp-stories-action?id=1145.

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