WIFIA Nears Finish Line in Congress, Disagreements Emerge. Wait, What's WIFIA You Ask?

WEF, AWWA and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) are working to gain passage of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) – a demonstration program that will provide new Federal funding to large water and wastewater projects. The WIFIA program is currently one of the chapters in the much larger Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).

The WRRDA has passed both houses of Congress and negotiations between the two houses over the final language of the bill has created some disagreements. The negotiating committee is trying to finish the bill’s language before the end of the year. There are also some new disagreements from some water associations over what the future of Federal funding for water infrastructure should look like.

What is WIFIA?

  • WIFIA will establish a five-year, $50 million pilot program allowing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Corps of Engineers to both offer low-interest loans for water and wastewater infrastructure projects costing at least $20 million (or $5 million for water systems serving 25,000 or fewer people).
  • The program is modeled similar to the Federal transportation trust fund
  • This is a demonstration program
  • The program will be run by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers.
  • It will be a separate funding program run parallel to the current Clean Water and State Revolving Funds. Each year Congress allocates new funds to both SRFs to help boost those revolving loan fund programs.

The Association of Clean Water Administrators is concerned WIFIA will allow Congressional budget leaders in the future to slash annual Federal funding to the two State Revolving Funds. Read more about their concerns at Water Online.

Read more about WIFIA here and WEF’s support here.

What do you think? Leave a comment in the box below…

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Alec Mackie

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