TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce believes reauthorization of soon to expire Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) programs would help the American economy recover from the economic harm of the pandemic and provide modernized and resilient infrastructure important to communities across the country.
The current programs expire on September 30 and both the House and Senate have worked on strong, bipartisan legislation: S. 3591, “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020,” which was reported unanimously by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and H.R. 7575, the “Water Resources Development Act of 2020,” which passed the House on July 29, 2020.
The Chamber leads a task force of member trade associations, state and local chambers, and companies that urged action on several priorities for WRDA reauthorization, and the bills largely track these priorities:
- Funding—providing full funding for State Revolving Loan Funds and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, elevating stormwater management funding, and increasing funding to address U.S.-Mexico water and wastewater challenges.
- Public-private partnerships—allowing private eligibility for Clean Water Act State Revolving Loan Fund projects, and prioritizing grants or loans to those projects that bring private investment to complement federal financing.
- Regulatory flexibility—fostering commonsense, alternative compliance opportunities (e.g., stormwater management) to meet water quality requirements.
- Resilience—promoting predisaster mitigation solutions, including passage of the Resilience Revolving Loan Fund Act.
- Technology innovation—extending authorization and full funding for the technology innovation fund created in the American Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.
The legislation would authorize more than three dozen new projects, update statutes to encourage modernization and resilience in water supply delivery, and increase investment from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
We believe Congress has sufficient time to act to reauthorize WRDA programs before expiration. We urge you to act.
Neil L. Bradley