Infrastructure May Connect Congress

In looking ahead to the 116th Congress, at first blush it’s tough to identify many opportunities for successful collaboration between the two chambers and the two political parties.  Infrastructure, written broadly, however, may be the one shining spot on the horizon.

House and Senate leadership seem to be hopeful that a bipartisan agreement on the subject is a possibility for 2019-20.  In addition to the usual roads, bridges, tunnels discussions, early signals indicate that water infrastructure, principally wastewater, is among the topics being considered for action.  Green infrastructure, stormwater, streamlined planning and permitting requirements, and possible subsidies for low-income customers are all options that may prove to be positive steps for the divided Congress.

New House leadership for the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (expected to be chaired by Peter DeFazio (D-OR)) and the Energy & Commerce Committee (Frank Pallone (D-NJ) expected to become chair) have both expressed interest in moving water issues (wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water) to the top of their respective agendas for the coming year.  Of course, even with all of the rosy hopes, the ever present fly in the ointment is how to fund any and/or all of the proposals.  ASDWA will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available.