North America: President Trump signs water legislation into law

23 October 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

President Donald Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act (S.3021) into law on 23 October.

The bill authorizes harbor, waterway, flood protection and other water infrastructure projects, and reauthorizes the WIFIA loan program.

The Senate passed the bill by a 99-1 vote on 10 October. The House of Representatives approved the bill unanimously on 13 September.

The legislation reauthorizes WIFIA for FY 2020 and FY 2021 at a funding level of USD 50m for each year, and removes the pilot designation from the program. The bill also provides additional funding sources for State Infrastructure Financing Sources that apply for WIFIA loans, and allows for these applications to be expedited.

The bill also authorizes USD 100m in funding over the next two fiscal years to aid areas that, since January 2017, have received a major federal disaster declaration due to a natural disaster, and need help repairing their drinking water systems,, or connecting to other ones to obtain potable drinking water.

The legislation also deals with Army Corps of Engineer projects. The legislation directs the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to evaluate the Corps’ civil function, and to identify impediments to efficient project delivery.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August announced it received 62 letters of interest (LOI) requesting US 9.1bn in loans, in response to WIFIA’s 2018 Notice of Funding Availability, as Inframation reported. The number of LOIs is a record for the program, according to the EPA.

The WIFIA program, established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, is a federal loan and loan guarantee program, established to accelerate investment in water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects.          

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