A few months back, we wrote about the importance of fixing the nation’s crumbling water infrastructure system. In cities such as Pittsburgh, New York and Atlanta, leaking pipes are responsible for the loss of millions of gallons of water each day. And as LCA’s general manager and chief financial officer, Aurel Arndt, pointed out, the cost to repair just drinking water lines is estimated at more than $1 trillion over the next 25 years.
“I want to emphasize that this is $1 trillion for buried drinking water assets only,” he told the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. “Above-ground drinking water facilities, wastewater, stormwater, and other water-related investment needs are also very large, and must be added to reflect the true magnitude of the water investment needs before us.”
On March 13, Arndt testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies about ways that the improvements could be financed.
Chief among them is WIFA, or the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. A bill proposed by Congressman Bob Gibbs of Ohio, chair of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, WIFA would allow water utilities access to funds from the U.S. Treasury at long-term Treasury rates and use those funds to provide loans, loan guarantees, or other credit support for infrastructure projects.
The benefits of WIFIA would be enormous. The bill — which passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on March 20 — would provide access to lower-cost financing than what is currently available, meaning infrastructure improvements could be completed without straining utilities — and their customers — to the breaking point.
While LCA is ahead of the curve as far as infrastructure repair, it doesn’t mean our work is done, and that’s why we’re taking a leadership role in this important issue. As with everything we do, our support of WIFIA is in the best interests of our customers, and we urge you to contact your representative and ask them for their support as well.
To read Chairman Arndt’s testimony and learn more about WIFIA, click here. If you have any suggestions or questions, please let us know!