April 27, 2020

Following Push, Gillibrand Announces Inclusion Of Legislation To Help New York Repair Aging Water Infrastructure In Recently Released 2020 Senate Water Resource Development Act And Drinking Water Infrastructure Act

Initial Draft Released By Senate Environment And Public Works Committee Includes Gillibrand’s Promoting Infrastructure and Protecting the Economy (PIPE) Act

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today announced that, following her push, essential provisions for New York’s water resources are included in two pieces of water infrastructure legislation simultaneously released by the EPW Committee, the 2020 Water Resources Development Act and Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020. The legislation includes the Promoting Infrastructure and Protecting the Economy (PIPE) Act, which Senator Gillibrand introduced with Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19) in 2019. The PIPE Act, as included in the recently released water infrastructure bills, would create two new grant programs to help communities in New York and across the country invest in critical wastewater and drinking water system upgrades.

According to a 2017 report by the New York State Office of the Comptroller, New York State drinking water and wastewater infrastructure will require tens of billions of dollars in investment in coming decades. Wastewater treatment facilities are, on average, 30 years old, and 30 percent of the underground sewers are over 60 years old and operating beyond their useful life expectancy. The legislation would authorize $100 million annually in new discretionary grants to state and local governments, tribal governments, and public water utilities for project related to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.  These grants would supplement existing federal sources of funding and financing, including the State Revolving Loan Funds. 

“I am very pleased that this important legislation was included in the Senate’s draft WRDA and drinking water bills this year,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Access to functional, clean, and safe water infrastructure is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity and the PIPE Act would invest in these much needed projects in areas that need it the most. Creating this new discretionary grant program will help communities in New York and across the country rebuild broken water systems and provide reliable water sources for generations.”

The PIPE Act, as included in the 2020 WRDA, would allow communities to continue to provide clean water for their residents and reliable water systems that help promote economic development. Specifically, the PIPE Act would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a new discretionary grant program for water infrastructure and authorize $50 million in annual funding. It would allow state, local, and tribal governments and public water utilities to apply for these grants for projects to bolster drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The PIPE Act would also assist small and rural projects compete for funds by allowing multiple projects to be bundled and by capping the maximum amount of the total funding any one state can receive at 20% in each fiscal year to ensure grants are spent on a mix of rural, suburban, and urban projects.  

Full text of the legislation can be found here