Water companies support proposed water infrastructure bill
The Washington-based National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) is supporting passage of Senate Bill 3262, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act of 2010 (SWIIA), which was introduced in late April. The bill would remove state volume caps on private activity bonds (PABs) for water and wastewater projects, according to NAWC.
There is an investment gap of more than $500 billion for infrastructure upgrades over the next 20 years to ensure safe drinking water and wastewater treatment, NAWC said in a statement, citing data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Government Accountability Office. SWIIA would create up to 57,000 jobs and allow access to approximately $180 billion in PABs for infrastructure investment, according to NAWC.
PABs, which must be authorized by a public entity, are private debt for the development of a specified project and, therefore, are attractive because they do not affect the public agency’s debt load. Under the Congressional mandated rules governing PABs, there is a limited total dollar amount of PABs that can be issued by a given state, however, airports, high-speed rail and solid waste disposal projects already are exempt from PAB caps.
Lifting the caps on PABs for water and wastewater projects will generate significant tax revenue for states and communities across the country, NAWC says. Each $1 billion invested in water infrastructure yields an increase of $82.4 million in state and local tax revenue, the association maintains. Last month, the House of Representatives passed a bill similar to SWIIA as part of the Small Business and Infrastructure Tax Act.