The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1262 the “Water Quality Investment Act of 2009,” by a vote of 317 to 101. The bipartisan legislation renews the federal government’s commitment to clean water by authorizing $19.4 billion over the next five years for wastewater infrastructure construction. This is the first time in 15 years that the program has been reauthorized.
H.R. 1262 will provide $13.8 billion for Wastewater SRF programs through federal fiscal 2013. The state of New York will receive $1.52 billion during that period, while the state of New Jersey will receive $562.5 million during the same time. H.R. 1262 also provides $2.5 billion over the five years for grants to resolve combined sewer overflows. The legislation could create and sustain 675,000 jobs over the next five years.
Bob Briant, chairman of the Clean Water Construction Coalition, commended Congressman James Oberstar, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, who authored H.R. 1262. Briant noted that representatives of the Coalition met with Oberstar and committee staff last January to review the proposed legislation and develop strategy for its passage. The Coalition was charged to deliver Republican votes in the House to ensure bipartisan support for the legislation. Specifically, the Coalition was asked to deliver 7 hard-line, anti-spending Republicans, and the group delivered 5 of the 7 who voted “yes” on H.R. 1262.
The Coalition will now turn its attention to a Senate version of H.R. 1262 and the renewal of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.