NACWA, EPA meet on infrastructure bill implementation
NACWA held a virtual meeting Jan. 6 with U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox and other senior EPA Office of Water staff to discuss implementation issues and distribution of funds from the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure legislation, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
The meeting follows a letter that NACWA sent to EPA last month outlining initial considerations and concerns from the association regarding implementation of the legislation. The bill provides $55 billion in new federal water spending over the next five years, but also creates a series of new programs and requirements that EPA and the states will need to work through in distributing the funds.
Members of NACWA’s Board of Director’s Affordability Task Force participated on the call and provided important insights from the clean water sector perspective on how best to ensure the IIJA funds are effectively spent. Of particular concern to utilities and EPA is how to ensure funds are made available to low-income and disadvantaged communities that have not traditionally received federal water funding. NACWA says there was good conversation on the issue and EPA is interested in further thoughts from NACWA on how the concept of disadvantaged communities is defined.