Senate Passes Comprehensive Water Infrastructure Bill with Key Booker-Led Provisions
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate today passed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA), a comprehensive bill that makes much-needed investments in water infrastructure systems across the country. The bill contains several provisions based upon legislation written by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
"This bill contains critical and much-needed investments in our nation’s water infrastructure and ecosystems," Booker said. "It will help protect communities in New Jersey and across the country from flooding and extreme weather while rebuilding our aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, especially in vulnerable communities that need it the most.”
Specifically, the bill contains the following Booker-led provisions:
· Expansion of eligibility within the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help low and moderate-income households connect to existing wastewater infrastructure, or upgrade individually-owned wastewater systems, based upon Booker’s bipartisan Residential Decentralized Wastewater Improvement Act.
A competitive grant program to help develop the next generation of water utility workers, based upon Booker’s bipartisan Innovative Water Workforce Development Act.
Alternative measures for aquatic ecosystem restoration that will require the Army Corps of Engineers to consider use of nature-based solutions. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Army Corps’ North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study recommended more emphasis on nonstructural, nature-based systems to make communities safer and more resilient.
A two-year, $10 million pilot program to provide a direct path to providing increases in funding for the State Revolving Fund programs that will help address the backlog of long-awaited local water infrastructure projects. This measure is based upon Booker’s bipartisan bill with Senator John Boozman, Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now Act. This pilot program will allow local authorities to utilize the financing available through WIFIA and the State Revolving Fund to fund multiple local water infrastructure projects at once, compete against other projects for a larger pot of funding, and help address the growing backlog of water infrastructure projects.
Expansion of the lead in schools testing program to provide schools with additional assistance to address lead contamination, based upon Booker’s bill with Senator Tammy Duckworth,Get the Lead Out of Schools Act of 2017.
Language that will direct the Army Corps to expedite completion of the feasibility studies for critical Army Corps infrastructure projects in New Jersey including the Rahway River Basin flood risk management project, the ecosystem restoration project on the Musconetcong River, the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration project, and the New York-New Jersey harbor and tributaries navigation project.