NJ Spotlight, “Water Advocates Seek Public Backing for Massive Infrastructure Upgrade”

If New Jersey’s aging network of water pipes and sewers wasn’t buried underground, it might be easier to convince the public that it is in such bad shape it needs repairs and renovations that would cost tens of billions of dollars.

But since it is out of sight and mostly out of mind, advocates for a massive upgrade to the system have been frustrated in their efforts to convince people that sound water infrastructure is essential for the economy, the environment, and public health.

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Water Finance & Management, “Florida lawmaker introduces bill to double WIFIA funding”

U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (R-Fla.) has introduced the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Reauthorization Act of 2017 to extend and double the funding authorization for a critical credit assistance program designed to accelerate investment in our nation’s water infrastructure.

The bipartisan bill—co-sponsored by Representatives Bob Gibbs (OH-7), Sean Maloney (NY-12) and Julia Brownley (CA-26)—extends the authorization for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) until 2024 and doubles the authorization to $90 million.

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The Hill, “GOP lawmaker: White House, Congress have begun crafting infrastructure bill”

The White House and members of Congress have begun crafting President Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure package, according to a top House Republican.

The Trump administration has been trading paper with lawmakers in recent days about ideas for the rebuilding effort, though the process is still in the early stages, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) told The Hill.

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Financial Times, “Tax plan could curb US infrastructure”

Investment in US infrastructure could be one of the losers from the Republican tax plan, undercutting the Trump administration’s aim of stimulating a new wave of construction led by the private sector. Legislation published by House Republicans on Thursday includes provisions ending the tax-privileged status of private activity bonds, instruments used to finance infrastructure projects deemed to be in the public interest. These bonds, like municipal bonds issued by state and local governments, pay tax-free interest to investors.

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The Washington Post, “WSSC proposes new water rate structure to counter discrimination concerns”

Residents in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties will soon see changes in their water bills as their utility seeks to make them more predictable and fair to larger households.

Whether customers of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission will pay more or less will depend on how much water they use and which pricing system the utility’s board adopts in June.

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WASHINGTON, AUG 31, 2017 — Acting Commissioner Alan Mikkelsen announced that the Bureau of Reclamation has selected $20.9 million for 43 projects to improve water delivery efficiency improvements in the Western United States. When leveraged with non-Federal funding sources these projects will complete more than $101 million in improvements. The selected projects will include canal lining and piping to reduce seepage losses, automated gates and control systems, and installation of advanced metering.


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Bloomberg BNA: “Appropriation Bill Advances with Cuts for EPA, Interior”

spending bill with cuts for environmental and public lands agencies was approved July 12 by a House subcommittee, over Democratic objections that the cuts were too big.

The proposed legislation from House appropriators would cut the EPA budget by about 7 percent, which was less than what was proposed by President Donald Trump.

The fiscal year 2018 spending bill for the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies was approved by voice vote of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. Democrats on the panel signaled their dissatisfaction over the cuts through their silence during the vote and their criticisms beforehand.

Read the full story here.