(March 12, 2019) - The US House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee held a public hearing March 7 to examine the current state of the country’s clean water infrastructure. NACWA provided testimony and emphasized the critical role of federal funding for clean water infrastructure.
At the hearing, NACWA Board Member Andy Kricun, Executive Director of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority in New Jersey, proposed solutions for the gowning infrastructure gap and challenging affordability concerns.
“Closing the infrastructure gap will be very costly and will impose an economic burden on all customers, which will be felt especially by our most economically distressed customers,” testified Mr. Kricun. “Every American citizen, rural and urban, regardless of their zip code, deserves safe drinking water and clean rivers and streams at affordable rates.”
Mr. Kricun’s testimony highlighted how the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) can play a critical role in addressing these issues. He explained how the CWSRF has helped CCMUA make transformative investments in its facilities, while keeping rate increases low. He made the case for more robust funding for the CWSRF, the creation of “affordability/rate assistance programs,” and partnerships—including peer-to-peer public-public partnerships, as well as public-private partnerships.
“There is an opportunity for a ‘win-win’ in dealing with the infrastructure gap as the construction of new water infrastructure will also create jobs at a time when they are badly needed in our economy,” Kricun said. “There is a tremendous opportunity to better protect public health and the environment, and create jobs for our economy, without causing economic harm to our most vulnerable communities.”
The hearing, entitled “The Clean Water State Revolving Fund: How Federal Infrastructure Investment Can Help Communities Modernize Water Infrastructure and Address Affordability Challenges,” came two days after the bipartisan introduction of the Water Quality Protection and Jobs Creation Act of 2019 bill in the House—a bill that would significantly boost funding for CWSRF and is strongly supported by NACWA and many other water sector organizations.
In light of the recent White House budget proposal to significantly cut clean water funding (see related March 12 Clean Water Current story), the new SRF bill and increased advocacy by NACWA and its members to advance federal water infrastructure investment are critical.
NACWA thanks Subcommittee Chair Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) for organizing a hearing on this critical issue, and looks forward to working with the Subcommittee, and the full Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, to make additional progress in funding our nation’s clean water infrastructure.
NACWA also thanks Andy Kricun for testifying on behalf of the Association and highlighting the importance of federal funding for clean water. Kricun’s full testimony is available, as is NACWA’s press release about the hearing. Members with any questions can contact Kristina Surfus or Jason Isakovic.