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The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure package: $8.3 billion for western water

  • The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan infrastructure package: $8.3 billion for western water
    Joe Biden (Wikipedia/CC).

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On August 10, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure package called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1.2 trillion physical-infrastructure package features $8.3 billion for western water infrastructure, as well as $3.3 billion for wildfire and $2.1 billion for ecosystem restoration.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act comes after months of negotiations between the Senate and the White House over spending, project types, priorities, and timelines. Through the work of a national coalition of more than 200 agricultural, urban, and municipal water entities, including ACWA, healthy investments can be found in the package to support drought in the Southwest, increasing water infrastructure resilience, and combating catastrophic wildfire.

The Senate also included the recently passed Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA), S. 914, in the bipartisan package. This portion of the package provides robust funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects nationwide, at approximately $55 billion. Specifically, this section offers $15 billion for lead service line replacement and $10 billion for addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed the U.S. Senate 69-30. It will now head back to the House for consideration, though a timeline for when the House may take up the measure has not been identified.

The Senate will now focus on passage of a separate $3.5 trillion human-infrastructure bill, through a process called budget reconciliation. This effort will supplement the physical-infrastructure package passed today and opportunities may arise to fill gaps in funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act through the reconciliation track, specifically for water or wildfire. ACWA will continue to partner with the western water coalition to pursue these opportunities as well as securing passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the House.

During the debate of the bipartisan package last week, ACWA staff submitted a letter to Senators Feinstein and Padilla encouraging the passage of the bill, outlining support for several amendments and raising a concern for a PFAS related amendment.

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