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Bipartisan Bill Seeks Bond Expansion for Water Projects

Move would allow local governments to fund critical infrastructure

Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) introduced legislation Thursday that would allow local governments to more easily access private funds for water infrastructure projects.

The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act of 2017 removes water and wastewater infrastructure projects from the Private Activity Bond (PAB) volume cap. PABs are a form of financing that allow state and municipal governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to private investors to fund costly infrastructure projects. Congress limits the use of PAB volume annually, although airport infrastructure projects have been exempted from the caps in the past.

"Our deteriorating water infrastructure regularly causes water main breaks in communities across our country, destroying property, disrupting neighborhoods and wasting our limited water supply,” Pascrell said. “By encouraging private investment to help fund critical water infrastructure upgrades, we are encouraging stronger investments in our country's future at a reduced cost to the taxpayer. This bipartisan legislation is a commonsense way to update our aging infrastructure and create jobs in the process."

“Much of our Nation’s water infrastructure is more than 100-years old, and this bill will empower more states and towns to raise the funds needed to address this growing problem,” Duncan said. “Our Nation's health, quality of life, and economic well-being rely on adequate wastewater treatment and access to clean water. I have worked toward this goal for many years and will continue to do so as co-chair of the Clean Water Caucus.”

Raising the PAB cap on water infrastructure projects would leverage $50 billion in private capital investment, create 1.4 million jobs, and add $101.5 billion in tax revenue to federal, state and local governments.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates hundreds of billions in infrastructure improvements are needed during the next 20 years in order to meet safe drinking water and sanitation standards.

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