Bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill and Build Back Better Act: What does this mean for water funding?
Late Friday night on November 5th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bi-partisan $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. It had been lingering in the House as House leadership awaited the Senate’s passage of a package called the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, a $3.5 trillion spending plan. House leadership had wanted to pass both bills in the House together.
Together the Infrastructure and BBB Acts would provide a substantial amount of funding for water projects, including grants to environmental justice and disadvantaged communities. The BBB also includes policy language to develop a permanent Low Income Housing Water Assistance Program in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while also providing an additional $225 million for the program, ensuring financial assistance for people who are struggling to pay their water utility bill while the nation figures out how to make water rates affordable for everyone. Together these bills may provide the largest amount of water funding in U.S. history, but they fall short of some of the Biden administration’s promises, like $45 billion to replace all the lead lines in the U.S. So what are in the Infrastructure and BBB Acts? See the table below to see some important water programs and their funding levels within the two Acts. Be sure to stay tuned though, BBB is still being negotiated, as you can see from the differences in the Sept and today columns, and hopefully will be passed before the end of November.