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Congress Passes Bill Establishing WIFIA
The U.S. Senate voted on May 22 91-7 to approve a water resources legislation containing the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) that AWWA and others have sought.
This comes two days after the U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill 412-4.
Now the bill, H.R. 3080, or the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, goes to President Obama for his signature before becoming law.
The American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation praised WIFIA as an important new finance tool to help communities address essential water and wastewater infrastructure projects at a lower cost, saving consumers money on their water bills.
HED: AWWA, WEF hail imminent passage of WIFIA infrastructure legislation
In an important victory for U.S. water utilities and their customers, a House-Senate committee today released legislation to create a pilot Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority that would lower the cost of renewing America’s aging water infrastructure.
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) praised WIFIA as an important new finance tool to help communities address essential water and wastewater infrastructure projects at a lower cost, saving consumers money on their water bills.
“The imminent creation of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority is a significant breakthrough in confronting the U.S. water infrastructure challenge,” said David LaFrance, Chief Executive Officer of the American Water Works Association. “WIFIA will reduce the financing costs of critical infrastructure projects, allowing communities to fix and expand water systems at a lower cost to their customers. Our elected representatives and senators deserve our gratitude.”
The creation of a WIFIA is part of the larger Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which now advances for formal approval in the U.S. House and Senate. It is expected to be swiftly passed by both chambers and signed into law by President Barack Obama. WIFIA will provide low-interest federal loans to communities to reduce the cost of financing large water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
“We at WEF know that continued progress on clean water will require innovative technological practices and also innovative financing,” said Dr. Eileen O'Neill, Executive Director of the Water Environment Federation. "The WIFIA pilot program included in this bill offers municipal water leaders an additional way to finance their infrastructure needs."