The Bush Administration yesterday proposed to dramatically cut clean water funding. The Administration is seeking to cut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget for fiscal year (FY) 2006 by $500 million (from $8.1 billion to $7.6 billion).
The vast majority of this reduction would be achieved by a proposed cut of approximately $360 million (from $1.09 billion to $730 million) to the Agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program.
The CWSRF, a loan program that helps local communities repair and replace aging treatment plants, has been the primary source of federal support for clean water infrastructure projects since its creation in 1987.
Studies by EPA, the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) estimate a water infrastructure funding gap exceeding $300 billion over the next 20 years. Given this mounting funding gap, WIN believes it is untenable for the federal government to cut support for clean water in America.
WIN is urging Congress to support both full funding for the CWSRF in the short-term, and a dedicated trust fund to guarantee clean and safe water in America for the long-term.
Facing similar shortfalls in funding for critical national infrastructure, Congress has established trust funds supported by dedicated revenue sources. Congressionally established trust funds for highway infrastructure ($30 billion/year) and airport infrastructure ($8 billion/year) provide a strong precedent for moving forward with a similar trust fund for clean and safe water. WIN will work aggressively with Congress and the Administration – both to ensure full funding for the CWSRF and to establish a trust fund dedicated to clean and safe water in America.