Yes, our focus at ECA is on local government, but we keep our hand in Washington D.C. On Friday, February 15, 2019, President Trump signed the legislation, approved by Congress to fund the government through September 30, 2019, including a big win for water infrastructure funding.

Although you never heard it on the national scene, the federal budget bill does more than simply keep the government open. It funds key national priorities, including water infrastructure, negotiated by a bipartisan, bicameral conference committee earlier this year.

EPA’s two main water infrastructure programs were clear winners.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CW SRF) was funded at $1.7 billion (Title II: $1.4 billion, Title IV: $300 million), which is equal to the 2018 enacted level and $300 million above the President’s budget request.

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DW SRF) was funded at $1.2 billion, which is slightly higher than the 2018 enacted level and $300 million above the President’s budget request. This figure is consistent with the authorized funding levels reported when the President signed into law (P.L. 115- 270) S.3021, “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018” and puts funding on track to nearly double the funding by FY21.

It’s important to remember that the FY19 / FY18 figures build from the net funding increase from FY17 levels for these two critical programs (an increase of $600M). In addition, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Grants program was funded at $68 million (Title II: $10 million, Title IV: $58 million), which is $5 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $48 million above the President’s budget request. Combined with the program improvements for WIFIA, these funds should now complement (not compete) with the CW SRF and the DW SRF programs.

ECA is active in Washington through our participation in the Clean Water Construction Coalition (CWCC). This organization includes associations very similar to ours in terms of representing heavy civil engineering interests. It is especially important for ECA to continue its membership in CWCC since the federal government funding is the base of almost all local government water and sewer work through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) not only in California but throughout the nation.

CWCC’s work of getting more federal funding for local projects is not done. We and the other 23 state associations in CWCC are now supporting a five-year, $20 billion clean water funding authorization/water recycling investment and improvement legislation for local sewer work.

Next month—Exploring the Sacramento Labyrinth—fun, huh.

By Dave Sorem, P.E. ECA Government Affairs Chairman email: [email protected]