Water groups urge WIFIA reauthorization in 2018

The American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) submitted a joint letter last week to House of Representatives committee leaders urging support for legislation to reauthorize EPA’s WIFIA program.

The groups also expressed concerns about another bill that would create a new class of WIFIA loans available only to states.

The letter reiterated the groups’ previously announced support for H.R. 4492, a bill that would extend the existing WIFIA program for five years while authorizing a total of $690 million to be spent on the program over that timeframe. It also outlined a number of concerns with H.R. 4902 (the SRF WIN Act), a bill that would set up a separate WIFIA program exclusively for use by states to pay for projects listed on their Drinking Water or Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) intended use plans.

RELATED: Lawmakers introduce bills to increase SRF dollars using WIFIA

That bill, which is intended to direct additional EPA funding toward small and rural projects, would offer state applicants more favorable loan terms than would be available to individual projects through the original WIFIA program. The current WIFIA program already allows states to compile multiple small projects into a single application, so the letter questions the necessity of creating a new competing program dedicated to this purpose.

EPA is expected to issue the first WIFIA loans within the next month, but the program’s original authorization is set to expire at the end of the 2019 fiscal year. Lawmakers could consider adding an extension to or revision of WIFIA to a larger water resources bill that is expected to be considered later this year.

Source: AMWA

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