President’s Budget Eliminates USDA Infrastructure Funding: On March 16, the President released his “America First” Budget. Page 12 includes the proposal for Congress to eliminate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program:
“The President’s 2018 Budget: Eliminates the duplicative Water and Wastewater loan and grant program, a savings of $498 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. Rural communities can be served by private sector financing or other Federal investments in rural water infrastructure, such as the EPA’s State Revolving Funds.”
NRWA Statement on President’s Budget: After the release of the President’s Budget, NRWA released a strong statement regarding the elimination of the USDA drinking water and wastewater infrastructure funding. “
“The President’s budget eliminates the USDA water and waste loan and grant program, which has been the lifeline for rural water and small communities across Rural America. Instead, the Administration is placing its confidence with eh EPA State Revolving Loan Funds. This demonstrates how blind the Administration is to its rural constituency and the lack of knowledge of what is most effective in funding the majority of the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure.”
The USDA Rural Development Loan and Grant program, which has been the foundation of rural water and wastewater funding for decades, has been instrumental in Kentucky’s success of providing safe drinking water to over 95% of its citizens. Many of these public water and wastewater utilities would not be in existence if it were not for this lender of last resort. Since 1990, Kentucky’s RD office has provided over $1.4 billion to public water and wastewater utility infrastructure financing.
While we strongly support robust funding for the state revolving funds, the SRFs (or WIFIA) can’t replace the USDA water infrastructure initiative. KRWA is joining NRWA in initiating a campaign to persuade Congress to retain the USDA Water & Wastewater Loan & Grant Program. We will be reaching out to all water professionals to aid in this campaign. More details coming soon!!!!