NACWA Testifies Before Senate on Infrastructure Law Implementation
NACWA Board Member Josh Schimmel, Executive Director of the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission in Massachusetts, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife on April 5, during a bipartisan hearing entitled Implementation of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act: Stakeholders’ needs and experiences.
The impetus for the hearing was congressional interest in overseeing implementation of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA), bipartisan legislation advanced by the subcommittee that was ultimately included in the comprehensive Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) signed into law in November 2021. Through the legislation, Congress enacted historic infrastructure funding increases as well as updates and reauthorizations to programs such as the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Loan Funds and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program.
Schimmel’s testimony centered on how EPA is implementing DWWIA, and by extension the BIL, from the perspective of the public clean water utilities who are critical to the successful implementation of this historic investment.
Through his testimony, Schimmel detailed how his utility has benefited from federal funding programs, including the SRF and WIFIA and, as such, how the sector as a whole can similarly benefit from the historic levels of federal funding and financing opportunities. Schimmel urged the Senate Subcommittee that this bipartisan investment form the foundation for a long-term local-state-federal funding partnership.
It was clear from the hearing that members of the Subcommittee maintain a strong interest in ensuring these investments make tangible improvements and are implemented quickly, effectively, and equitably. Many of the questions posed to the witnesses at the hearing focused on ensuring that implementation timelines are achievable and technical assistance is available to communities that have historically not leveraged these programs.
For more background on NACWA’s support for these federal funding programs, please see NACWA’s letter of support provided as Congress considered DWWIA and our detailed analysis of the programs contained in the BIL.
NACWA will stay closely engaged with EPA and Congress as implementation of the BIL continues to help ensure these investments advance as smoothly and effectively as possible. For further information or questions on the hearing, please contact a member of NACWA’s legislative team.