Washington, DC – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley introduced the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2013 (WIFIA). This bill would create jobs by helping local communities upgrade or replace aging and damaged water and sewer systems. Low cost financing would save homeowners and businesses money and put construction workers back on the job as repairs and new projects are accelerated.
“Investing in water supply and treatment systems is common sense, enabling communities to fix aging systems, expand capacity, or meet clean water standards,” said Merkley. “These investments will put folks to work now and pave the path for economic development.”
WIFIA is modeled after the successful Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (TIFIA). WIFIA would create a financial mechanism within the EPA to provide access to lower-cost capital for investments in water infrastructure. The legislation offers a proven, modern, and effective way to help increase investment in our infrastructure while reducing cost to local governments and ratepayers.
In virtually every county in Oregon, communities are facing immediate issues in their water supply and water treatment systems. In some cases it is a matter of repairing and replacing aging infrastructure. In other ones it is about meeting modern drinking water and waste treatment standards. In yet other cases it is about expanding capacity to provide for growing communities and industrial capacity. The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that a lack of investment in water infrastructure now will significantly drive up costs later, with the gap between America’s yearly actual investment and the “needed” investment rising by $90 billion by 2040.