WRDA bills may advance in Congress

House and Senate versions of legislation to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) could receive committee markups in each chamber this week, according to the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA).

The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee is expected to vote on its 2018 reauthorization WRDA, known as America’s Water Infrastructure Act.

The bill, introduced earlier this month, includes a two-year extension of EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. However, committee leaders are expected to amend the bill to add language creating a new version of WIFIA (called the SRF WIN Act) that would be open exclusively to state infrastructure financing agencies, while reducing WIFIA’s total leveraging ability. AMWA has opposed the SRF WIN Act as unnecessary and inequitable.

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 WRDA authorizes individual U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) water resources projects and is considered a “must-pass” bill every two years. While this USACE bill can be fairly narrow, Congress has in the past expanded its scope to address municipal water infrastructure issues.

RELATED — NACWA: Army Corps funding bill includes clean water priorities

Meanwhile, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representatives could unveil and markup its own version of WRDA legislation this week. The House WRDA bill is not expected to include provisions related to WIFIA or SRF WIN. Should the House eventually approve a WRDA bill without the SRF WIN Act included – while the Senate approves a version with the controversial provision – then a conference committee would eventually determine whether to include the SRF WIN Act in the final WRDA bill later this year.

Sources: AMWA, NACWA

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