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

The Trump Administration introduced its federal Fiscal Year 2018 budget March 16th, the same day they were fêting the Prime Minister of Ireland in an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

While the Engineering Contractors’ Association is keeping its government focus on local government, we know it is important to look back at what’s going on in Washington, D.C. from time to time because that’s where a lot of the money to fund local programs originate.

That’s why ECA belongs to the Clean Water Construction Coalition (CWCC) which is a group of more than two dozen utility contractor associations around the country who have banded together to try to increase federal funding for water and sewer projects. United Contractors, San Ramon, is the other active CWCC member from California.

Robert A. Bryant, Jr., CWCC chair, issued a report on the Trump budget and its impact on funding for water and sewer work the day after the document was released. We thought we should share it with you since millions in California work is funded through the EPA budget.

Here is the CWCC report:

“America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again”, the $1.1 trillion budget calls for a $54 billion increase in military spending while substantially cutting many domestic programs. Other Departments receiving increases are Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. The President’s budget targets the Environmental Protection Agency with a 31 percent budget cut while eliminating 20 percent of its workforce. Approximately 50 EPA programs would be eliminated, but not water and sewer project funding.

The President’s budget guidance for EPA does prioritize funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) and funding for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program in the following ways:

  • Provides robust funding for critical drinking and wastewater infrastructure. These funding levels further the President’s ongoing commitment to infrastructure repair and replacement and would allow States, municipalities, and private entities to continue to advance high-priority infrastructure investments that protect human health.
  • The budget includes $2.3 billion for the SRFs, a $4 million increase over the 2017 annualized Continuing Resolution (CR) level.
  • The budget also provides $20 million for the WIFIA program, equal to the funding provided in the 2017 annualized CR. This credit subsidy could support $1 billion in direct federal loans.
  • The federal FY 2018 budget process will be contentious and the CWCC will be intensely active in protecting all the funding sources for our industry. We’ll keep you posted.