Trump calls out ‘clean water’ at Minnesota rally

On Thursday, President Donald Trump voiced his desire for America to have “clean water” during a campaign-style rally in Rochester, Minnesota.

Despite several calls for infrastructure investment since being elected, the president – similar to past presidents – rarely addresses drinking water or wastewater issues, specifically. Trump’s mention of clean water came as he touted the success of the U.S. economy, citing environmental deregulation as a contributor.

“We want clean water, we want crystal clear air, we want beautiful environment,” Trump said. “But you don’t have to have regulation that makes it impossible to compete with other countries.”

Earlier this year, the president proposed at least a $1.5 trillion investment in improvements to U.S. infrastructure in his State of the Union address, noting it at the time as a top priority for his administration in 2018.

But as is typical with presidents’ State of the Union addresses, Trump did not directly address water or wastewater infrastructure. He did, however, call for an infrastructure package to engage the private sector to help close the investment gap — a major topic of conversation across the water sector.

“I’m calling on Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment that our country so desperately needs,” Trump said. “Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments, and where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.”

The president has also stressed timeliness in passing an infrastructure package and getting projects shovel-ready.

In March, Senate Democrats countered the White House proposal with a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that is supported by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).

Specifically, the plan would provide $115 billion in federal investment over 10 years (or an average of $11.5 billion per year) for water infrastructure, divided equally between water and wastewater. Those levels of funding would be significant for water and wastewater — more than a tripling of current funding levels — and reflect a recognition of the significant water infrastructure investment needs that local utilities face in providing vital services in an affordable manner, while also achieving compliance with a growing array of federal and state regulatory requirements.

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