DWSRF, WIFIA Funding Would Stay Flat in FY18 Spending Bill
A draft spending bill approved last week by the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee would provide EPA with $7.5 billion next year, about 6.5 percent below the agency’s current funding level of just over $8 billion. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program would each have their current funding levels maintained; just over $863 million for the DWSRF and $30 million for WIFIA. If enacted, FY18 would represent the third straight year of flat funding for the DWSRF, while the WIFIA allotment would fall well below the program’s fully authorized FY18 level of $45 million.
The only major water infrastructure funding program targeted for a cut under the House bill would be the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which would have its appropriation reduced by approximately $250 million, or 18 percent, from $1.394 billion to $1.144 billion.
The bill would extend the existing Buy American rules that apply to DWSRF-funded projects for the duration of the FY18 fiscal year and would allow EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the controversial Clean Water Rule without adhering to normal public notice and comment periods. Elsewhere in the legislation, the U.S. Geological Survey would receive $1 billion, $46 million below current funding. The bill would also sustain funding levels for an earthquake early warning system that is expected to begin initial operations on the West Coast in 2018.
The full House Appropriations Committee could consider the spending bill as early as this week, but Senate leaders have not announced when they might release their own version of an EPA funding bill.