In response to the House-Senate Conference meeting on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (H.R. 3080) and the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601), ABC Jan. 7 sent a letter
to members of Congress thanking them for recognizing the importance of our nation’s water infrastructure and for moving forward with the first Water Resource Reauthorization bill since 2007. However, ABC also expressed concern that the proposed Senate bill would expand Davis Bacon Act requirements and exclude a public-private partnership (P3s) program.
ABC strongly urged Congress to include the water infrastructure P3 program outlined in the House bill in the conferees' final product. This program would authorize the use of P3s on at least 15 water-related projects in the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ construction backlog, benefiting the federal government and taxpayers greatly.
In addition, ABC expressed concern that the suggested use of state revolving funds in the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) included in the Senate bill would subject projects without any federal funding to costly and cumbersome Davis Bacon requirements. State revolving funds allow states to provide low-interest loans to water utilities in order to make infrastructure improvements comply with federal standards.
“ABC has long been opposed to legislation that expands Davis-Bacon into areas of public and private projects in which it has previously not been mandated and hopes that it will not apply under the WIFIA program,” ABC wrote in the letter.