AMSA Legislative Alert

Member Pipeline - Legislative - Alert (LA02-01)

To: Members & Affiliates, AMSA Legislative Policy Committee
From: National Office
Date: February 20, 2002
Reference: LA02-01

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The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee has introduced its version of a water and wastewater infrastructure funding bill, S. 1961, the Water Investment Act of 2002 (see attached copy). The bill would significantly amend the funding sections of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Committee Chairman Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) and ranking member Robert Smith (R-N.H.) were joined by the leadership of the water resources subcommittee, Senators Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) in sponsoring the bill. AMSA will deliver comment on the bill in testimony before the subcommittee on February 28. Sen. Jeffords plans to mark up the bill in early March. Floor action is anticipated prior to the July 4 recess.

Major Provisions - S. 1961
The bill authorizes over $20 billion for clean water and $15 billion for safe drinking water over five years and would make the funds available to both public and privately owned systems. It extends several provisions of the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF) to the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) and allows for the transfer of funds between the two.

The EPW Committee bill focuses extensively on the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of utilities to ensure the accountability of loan recipients. According to Jeffords, "we have included provisions for both the CWA and SDWA that are designed to help water utilities better manage their capital investments using asset management plans, rate structures that account for capital replacement costs, and other financial management techniques. We encourage utilities to seek innovative solutions by asking them to review options for consolidation, public-private partnerships, and low-impact technologies before proceeding with a project."

The bill includes provisions for the use of low-impact technologies, incentives for the use of non-structural technologies, and authorizes a demonstration program at $20 million per year over five years to promote innovations in technology and alternative approaches to water quality management and water supply. A total of $13.5 million per year for five years will be made available to small communities for three types of technical assistance activities. Several major recommendations of the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) were not addressed in the bill including grants to municipalities - regardless of size, a prioritization system that focuses on core infrastructure needs, and procedures to make it easier for utilities to receive SRF loans in a timely manner.

For your review and information, attached please find two documents with their web addresses:

Other Bills Pending
The Senate EPW Committee's bill is only one of the legislative proposals that Congress will consider this year as it debates the solution to the country's water infrastructure funding deficit. The EPW hearing will focus not just on S. 1961 but also on all Senate funding proposals introduced in the 107th Congress. In the House, two significant pieces of legislation are anticipated. Representatives Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.) and Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.) are expected to reintroduce an expanded funding proposal by early March. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee also is writing a bill which it expects to introduce by mid-March.

For more information on water infrastructure funding bills, bill summaries and updates, visit the Bill Tracker — available exclusively to AMSA members — on the AMSA web site at If you have any questions, please contact AMSA's Lee Garrigan at 202/833-4655 or