Bipartisan legislation will invest in our nation’s water infrastructure system, address aquatic invasive species like invasive carp, reauthorize the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), and double funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that the America’s Water Infrastructure Act has passed the Senate and will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The final legislation contains several key provisions Klobuchar fought to include that will help strengthen Minnesota’s water infrastructure and economy including the reauthorization of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to reduce the backlog of demand for water infrastructure investment. The bipartisan agreement will help keep invasive species out of Minnesota’s waterways, ensure the long-term viability of the inland waterway system, including the Mississippi River, address port and harbor maintenance on the Great Lakes, advance key flood protection projects and increase funding for community drinking water projects.
“This bipartisan legislation is an important step forward for Minnesota’s waterways, water infrastructure, environment, and our economy,” Klobuchar said. “I fought hard to include provisions that will help advance important flooding and water infrastructure projects and improve the management and eradication of aquatic invasive species like invasive carp and zebra mussels. This legislation also helps local communities invest in improvements to drinking water infrastructure by doubling funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund. I look forward to the President signing it into law.”
Key parts of the legislation will:
Advance research on invasive species as well as costal resiliency in the Great Lakes:
The final legislation directs the U.S. Army Corps’ Engineer Research and Development Center to address the spread and impacts of aquatic invasive species, by undertaking research on the management and eradication of aquatic invasive species, including invasive carp and zebra mussels. Section 1219 of the legislation also directs the Corps to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the water resources needs of the Great Lakes System including all the streams, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water within the drainage basin of the Great Lakes.
Double the water infrastructure funding program:
The legislation reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, providing important amendments to allow the Corps and other federal agencies with federal credit instruments to enter into an agreement with the EPA to service loans for their programs. This section improves the process for state applications, provides additional sources of funding for State Infrastructure Financing Authorities applying for WIFIA loans. This section also creates a new financing program within WIFIA for states to be able to bundle smaller projects.
Reauthorize and double the size of the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund:
The legislation reauthorizes the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund for the first time in 22 years and doubles the size of the program from $1 billion to $1.95 billion by 2021. These funds will go to help communities update their outdated drinking water infrastructure including water and sewer pipes.
Advance the Redevelopment of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam:
America’s Water Infrastructure Act will expedite the Army Corps’ current disposition study at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam to allow for the repurposing of the current site. Klobuchar successfully worked to include this provision in the bill to advance the redevelopment of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam and build upon her provision in the 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act that closed the lock in order to protect Minnesota’s waterways from invasive carp.