Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today joined with National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC) to express support for the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act of 2017 (S. 692) currently under consideration in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Water Quality Improvement Act of 2017 (HR 465) in the House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The organizations sent a joint letter to Senators Deb Fischer, Ben Cardin, and Sherrod Brown, as well as a letter to Representatives Bob Gibbs and Steve Chabot outlining how the legislation would help local governments to comprehensively deal with wastewater and storm-water investments as well as unfunded mandates.
“Local governments are at a crossroads. Cities and counties spend over $115 billion per year to provide safe and reliable water and sewer services and maintain a vast physical infrastructure of pipes, pumps and plants,” the letter reads.
“While we thank Congress for providing $2 billion annually to the water and wastewater State Revolving Fund programs, these loans are not enough to cover the estimated costs to maintain and replace our aging infrastructure. Additionally, local governments, our residents, and businesses must spend additional resources to comply with numerous environment and non-environmental federal and state unfunded mandates, which further limits the money available for water infrastructure.”
Specifically, the local leaders are calling for the ability to, “Work with their state and EPA to prioritize investment in wet weather overflows and flooding collectively, rather than individually, by codifying various EPA memorandums on water tools and affordability.”
They note, “Since our water and wastewater systems are paid for by the ratepayers, the bill will help reduce costs for a substantial number of our low-income citizens who spend a significant portion of their income on water and wastewater bills.”