October 12, 2011

Transportation Leaders Introduce Bill to Create Jobs, Protect Water Quality

Washington, D.C. – Leaders on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee yesterday introduced bipartisan legislation to create American jobs by investing $13.8 billion over five years through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) and other efforts to improve water quality.

“In addition to creating immediate construction jobs, funding for modern water and wastewater infrastructure improves the quality of life for area residents and helps to provide the kind of basic services needed to attract new and grow existing businesses,” said U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  “Our Nation’s water infrastructure is aging, threatening the reliability of service and the health and safety of families who rely upon it.  While the amount of public funding available to support repair and replacement has long been insufficient and is declining, this new bill constitutes a badly needed shot to help shore up our aging systems and grow our economy.”

The “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2011” (H.R. 3145) was introduced yesterday by U.S. Representative Tim Bishop (D-NY), top Democrat on the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, Rahall, U.S. Representative Tom Petri (R-WI), senior Member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and U.S. Representative Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH).  The bill renews the Federal commitment to addressing our Nation’s substantial needs for wastewater infrastructure by investing $13.8 billion in the SRF, which, for decades, has been the traditional mechanism for Federal wastewater infrastructure assistance.

The bill also proposes two complimentary initiatives for the long-term financing of wastewater infrastructure through the establishment of direct loan and loan guarantee programs and a Clean Water Infrastructure Trust Fund.  These proposals, when implemented in concert, would leverage billions of additional dollars to meet local wastewater infrastructure needs.

"Rebuilding our nation's water infrastructure is a proven creator of quality domestic jobs, and these investments will put thousands of Americans to work in the construction and wastewater-support sectors," said Bishop. "Investing now in improvements to publicly-owned water infrastructure will save taxpayer dollars on the local level in the future by reducing long-term operation and maintenance costs and protecting public health."

The bill would also permanently reinstate the application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wages for the construction of wastewater treatment infrastructure and would codify the application of Buy American provisions within the Clean Water Act.  A summary of the legislation is available on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Democrats’ website.

"Our wastewater treatment needs are enormous, the consequences of inaction are serious, and we have an overabundance of people who are eager to do the work,” said Petri.  “We should move forward with our water infrastructure bill without delay.”

The bill has the support of the National League of Cities and the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), comprised of the following 45 organizations:

  • National Association of Clean Water Agencies
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Public Works Association
  • American Council of Engineering Companies
  • American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association
  • International Union of Operating Engineers
  • International Union of Bricklayers
  • Laborers International of North America
  • United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices in the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • Water Environment Federation
  • Western Coalition of Arid States
  • Clean Water Action
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • American Rivers
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Riverkeeper
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • American Sportfishing Association
  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership
  • Association of California Water Agencies
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters
  • Design Build Institute of America
  • California Rebuild America Coalition
  • Associated Equipment Distributors
  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers
  • National Construction Alliance
  • Clean Water Construction Coalition
  • Construction Management Association of America
  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers
  • American Supply Association
  • Vinyl Institute
  • Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association
  • Pipe Rehabilitation Council
  • Portland Cement Association
  • National Ready Mix Concrete Association
  • Vermeer Corp.
  • Environmental and Energy Study Institute
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
  • California Association of Sanitation Agencies
  • National Association of Towns and Townships
  • National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies