The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) testified before House appropriators to encourage higher funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program in 2004. SRF programs provide critical resources to states for the repair and installation of America’s water and wastewater infrastructure.
On Wednesday, April 9, NUCA contractor-member Bill Bowman, of William Bowman Associates Inc. in West Berlin, NJ, discussed SRF funding with members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD and independent agencies, which has jurisdiction over SRF annual appropriations. Bowman’s message was clear: the SRF programs need immediate substantial funding increases, beginning in FY2004.
“Once again, NUCA members were called for their unique insight on our wastewater infrastructure needs and the SRF program’s role in addressing them,” said Bill Hillman, NUCA chief executive officer. “Bill Bowman very effectively articulated the case for increased SRF appropriations.”
Bowman’s testimony described the enormous estimates of the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure needs, the widening gap between what is needed and what is spent, and the success of the SRF programs in New Jersey and across the country. The nation’s water and wastewater needs are “expected to rise to more than $650 billion,” Bowman said, adding that “The EPS’s own funding gap estimates exceed $534 billion if we continue at present rates of capitalization.”
Increasing the federal commitment to the SRF is imperative to closing the spending gap, according to NUCA. The SRF program provides a key source of funding to build and improve wastewater treatment plants; control agricultural, rural and urban runoff; improve estuaries; control wet weather overflows; and restore brownfield sites.
Bowman spoke of the SRF program’s success in leveraging approximately $20 billion federal capitalization grants into more than $38 billion in perpetual revolving loans.
“The SRF program is by all accounts an efficient, fiscally sound, and environmentally successful partnership that enhances public health, creates thousands of jobs, and improves the quality of life for communities across America,” he said.
Bowman recommended that the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee enact a total of $5.2-billion funding level for the Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF programs, as outlined by the Senate’s recently passed budget resolution.
“Sufficient federal seed money must be invested to ensure that human and environmental costs of the multi-billion-dollar funding gap are prevented. Providing $5.2 billion toward our environmental infrastructure would be a big step in the right direction,” Bowman said.