WEF Letter Thanks Senators for WIFIA Fix

The Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) has sent a letter to two leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, thanking them for including a correction to a water infrastructure financing program in a bill primarily about highways — S.1647, Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. WEF thanked the committee chairman, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R−Okla.), and its ranking member, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D−Calif.).

Their amendment to the DRIVE Act would remove a ban on using tax-exempt municipal financing for a water infrastructure project that also received support from the federal Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). The ban on tax-exempt financing was a last-minute provision included to secure a neutral budget score for WIFIA legislation, and it would prohibit communities from funding water infrastructure projects with a combination of WIFIA loan funds and tax-exempt debt.

The bill still has to be passed by the full Senate and agreed to by the House, but WEF sees the inclusion of the correction in the highway reauthorization bill as a significant first step.

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