FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2016
Senior Director, Legislative Affairs
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) applauds Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), and John Duncan (R-TN) for introducing the bipartisan Water Infrastructure Trust Fund Act of 2016. This bill builds on previous legislative efforts to create a dedicated source of funding for our nation's water infrastructure — the importance and timeliness of which is only elevated by the recent crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Dedicated revenue for our Nation's clean and safe water infrastructure, which faces a funding gap in the hundreds of billions of dollars according to numerous reports, is poised to be a central issue as discussions advance over potential tax reform efforts. Opportunities will arise for new revenue, whether through the repatriation of foreign funds, a future carbon tax, or a voluntary approach as highlighted in the bill. These funds must be targeted to rebuilding America's infrastructure, including our water and wastewater infrastructure.
Of equal importance, however, is that the bill directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a study examining the affordability challenges faced by low-income populations in paying for drinking water and wastewater services, setting the stage for a much-needed national dialogue on how a local-state-federal partnership can be re-established to address these growing affordability challenges that are at the heart of the investment gap.
"This bill is an important step to addressing the nation's widespread water and wastewater infrastructure investment and affordability challenges," said Adam Krantz, NACWA CEO. "Rep Blumenauer, along with Reps. Hanna and Duncan, remain staunch supporters of federal clean water infrastructure funding and we appreciate their dedication to this important issue. NACWA is also excited that this bill provides an important opportunity for a broader conversation on how various funding sources can help address a growing affordability challenge that is making it difficult for our utilities to charge for the true value of water."
The study authorized by this bill directs the EPA to work with the States to examine the affordability gap faced by low-income populations in obtaining water services, and also present options to provide federal assistance to struggling low income ratepayers that would spur and incentivize local governments to raise rates to levels that reflect the true value of water and ensure the long-term sustainability of these systems.
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is the leading advocate for responsible national policies that advance clean water. NACWA represents the collective interests of America's clean water utilities nationwide – and their clear commitment to America's waters. For over 40 years, NACWA has been the clean water community's voice in Congress, at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies, as well as in the media and in the courts. To learn more about NACWA visit us at www.nacwa.org.