Water is a Winner in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
On February 13, 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1), and President Obama signed the bill at a ceremony in Denver on February 17. The Act includes a total of $787.2 billion in spending and tax cuts, including $308 billion in appropriated spending, $269 million in direct spending (refundable portion of tax credits, Unemployment assistance, Medicaid reimbursement to states, etc) and $211 billion in tax cuts. AGC worked hard to ensure significant infrastructure investment was included in the plan, and ultimately secured $140 billion in construction spending.
Highlights include $4.6 billion for the Corps of Engineers; $1.2 billion for the VA hospital and medical facility construction and improvements; $3.1 billion for repair, restoration and improvement of public facilities; $4.2 billion for facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization; $2.33 billion for Department of Defense Facilities; $1 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation; $48 billion for transportation infrastructure; $14.5 billion for environmental clean-up and clean water programs; $39.5 billion to local school districts for modernization or other purposes; and $4.5 billion for increased energy efficiency in federal buildings.
Funding for the EPA Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving funds totaling $6 billion constitutes an unprecedented level of annual investment in these programs. While ready to go projections from industry groups such as AWWA, NAWCA, APWA and the WIN Coalition were much higher than what was included in the final bill, $6 billion represents a step in the right direction in tackling the $450-600 billion dollar investment gap estimated by EPA over the next 20 years.
In order to expedite projects stimulus dollars are not subject to matching or cost sharing requirements and 50 percent of the funds may be used to provide additional subsidization to eligible recipients in the form of forgiveness of principal, negative interest loans, and/or grants. Additionally, priority for funds will be given to projects on a state priority list that are ready to proceed to construction with 12 months of enactment or February 17, 2010. If sufficient eligible projects exist, not less than 20 percent of the funds must be used for projects that address green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements, or other environmentally innovative activities.
The Rural Utilities Service Loan and Grant Program for water and wastewater systems recieved $1.4 billion which will effectivley fund the entire backlog of applications on file with the stimulus funds. This equates to approximately $3.8 billion of construction, upgrades and expansion of service areas and provides funding to 94% of the public water supply systems in the nation, rural water districts and municipal systems that serve less than 10,000 populations.
AGC has updated its stimulus Web site to provide comprehensive information on what the final legislation signed by President Obama means for the construction industry. Included on the site is a breakdown of construction spending by program, with as much detail as is currently available about how the money will be allocated, by whom, and if possible, how much will go to each state. The site also includes analysis of the various tax provisions within the legislation that affect the construction industry and an overview of some of the policy implications of the legislation.
The intent of the site is to provide our members, and more broadly the construction community, the widest possible range of current information about the stimulus. In addition, over the coming weeks we will be creating a new site, "Stimulus At Work," which will highlight the work our members are doing to help ensure the success of the stimulus package.
For addtional information contact Perry L. Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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