President Signs Water Infrastructure Bill
Legislation should have positive impact on suppliers of cast components.
Stephanie Salmon, AFS Washington Office; Jeff Hannapel & Christian Richter, The Policy Group, Washington, D.C.
(Click here to see the story as it appears in July's Modern Casting.)
President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA)-H.R. 3080 on June 10. Following months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, both the U.S. Senate and House approved the conference report in May. The measure authorizes billions of dollars for ports, flood control projects and other water projects across the country. Of particular interest to metalcasting facilities that produce components for water infrastructure projects are the following sections of the measure:
• Reauthorizes the wastewater state revolving loan fund program and expands the types of projects the state revolving fund may fund.
• Establishes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to serve as a low-interest loan program administered by EPA to specifically support water and wastewater-related infrastructure projects, including pipe replacement or rehabilitation, construction or rehabilitation of treatment plants, desalination projects, groundwater replenishment projects, energy efficiency improvements and others. It is designed to fund larger projects and provides loan guarantees and direct loans at long-term Treasury rates. It does limit WIFIA support of a project to 49% of the project’s costs, with an overall limitation of 80% for all federal assistance in any project and provides that tax-exempt debt cannot be used to pay the non-federal share of project costs. EPA is authorized to spend $175 million over five years to carry out the program, including $20 million in the 2015 fiscal year. However, the actual funding levels will be decided as congressional appropriators craft FY15 spending bills.
• Requires that these projects use iron and steel products that are produced in the U.S. for the construction, alteration, maintenance or repair of a public water system or treatment works project.