Transportation

Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill

Greg Nash

President Trump is poised to sign a bipartisan water infrastructure bill after it passed the Senate 99-1 this week. 

America’s Water Infrastructure Act, the most comprehensive infrastructure legislation passed this Congress, will authorize over $6 billion in federal spending on ports, harbors and waterways.

{mosads}It will also deauthorize spending on water projects that have been deemed inefficient.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) cast the only “no” vote on the bill.

“President Trump called on Congress to take action on the country’s water infrastructure and we have done that today,” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The bill authorizes billions of dollars for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fund that provides money to improve drinking water infrastructure at the state level. It also extends a federal program aimed at improving the drinking water in Flint, Mich.

“This legislation invests in the critical water infrastructure we don’t see every day, but that American families in every state rely on, such as drinking water systems, dams, reservoirs, levees, and ports,” Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Tom Carper (D-Del.) said in a statement. “When it comes to local infrastructure projects, it ensures the voices of our country’s local governments are being heard by the federal government to ensure needs are being met and taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently.”

The legislation further addresses the water needs of marginalized communities by requiring each regional EPA office to tap at least one employee as the point person for minority, tribal and low-income communities.

It also includes a provision that requires the government to prioritize low-income communities for lead testing programs. 

The chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), released a statement lauding the act for its provisions seeking to enhance water infrastructure in tribal communities.

He pointed out that the legislation authorizes funding for water projects on tribal land and directs the secretary of the Army to investigate whether Native American tribes have been displaced by the construction of certain dams in Oregon.

The act also includes billions of dollars in de-authorizations toward the aim of being “fiscally responsible.”

The bill authorizes funds but does not appropriate them.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tweeted on Wednesday that America’s Water Infrastructure Act is “a major step toward meeting the challenge of improving our nation’s infrastructure.”

“From dams, levees, and flood control to safer drinking water and sewage systems, this legislation meets all sorts of pressing needs,” he wrote.

Tags Donald Trump John Barrasso John Hoeven Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Tom Carper

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