US stimulus spending divided up
- From: Vol 10, Issue 3 (March 2009)
- Category: General
- Region: Americas
- Country: United States
- Related Companies: Macquarie, Municipal and Infrastructure Assurance Corporation, US Bureau of Reclamation and US Environmental Protection Agency
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And there will be more funding on the way for water and wastewater if Congress has its way.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has published its apportionment of the stimulus funding for clean water and drinking water state revolving funds (SRFs). Populous states and states in the Northeast facing significant infrastructure challenges do well. Sparsely populated states with major water challenges such as Arizona and New Mexico do less well in comparison to the scale of their forward project lists (as measured by GWI’s Water Market USA).
Arizona ranks in fifth place in terms of the value of its forward projects, but only 39th in terms of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for its drinking water and clean water state revolving funds. New Mexico is 14th in terms of forward plans, but 46th in terms of ARRA SWF funding. It reflects the fact that EPA funding is directed at environmental compliance, rather than resources issues per se. The top 10 states receiving additional SRF funding are listed below, together with the value of forward water and wastewater projects with a value of more than $5 million, as listed in Water Market USA.
Additional spending programmes for infrastructure continue to pour out of Congress. Just two weeks after ARRA became law, the infrastructure committee in the House approved an ambitious water and sewer bill that will add more than $16 billion to the dollars already set aside by the stimulus plan. The Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 combines five water bills that had been approved last year in the House, but stalled in the Senate. Specifically, the Act will authorize another $13.8 billion of federal grants for the clean water state revolving funds. The Act will also authorize grants of $250 million over the next five years for projects that rely on alternate water sources, as well as $1.8 billion over the same timespan for projects focused on controlling sewer overflows. There is also $750 million for the Great Lakes states to clean up pollution in the lakes.
Congress has also recently passed a massive $410 billion omnibus spending bill that addresses a variety of spending needs for the remainder of the current 2009 fiscal year. This has now been signed by the President, and essentially wraps nine spending bills together in order to continue to fund the annual operating budgets of almost every Cabinet department.
While the bill is loaded with thousands of earmarks, it does contain added funding for the water and wastewater sectors. Specifically, the SRF programme will be awarded another $1.5 billion. The Bureau of Reclamation is to receive another $1.1 billion for dams, water treatment and conservation, and rural water projects. Additional funds to the tune of $3.7 billion will be channelled through the Department of Agriculture for rural development and conservation programmes such as select water projects in rural communities and upgrading ageing flood control dams. This includes $39 million to develop and expand the use of recycled water, while $40 million has been allocated to research new ways of generating power from flowing water.
* Macquarie’s new monoline insurer, Municipal and Infrastructure Assurance Corporation, will participate in a licencing project which should enable it to start operations in the troubled municipal bond insurance market. Rating downgrades of the major municipal bond insurers have undermined the entire municipal finance sector in the US.