The federal government remains shut down as it currently stands. Although there is room for debate on whether the stalemate in Washington will end soon, the Army Corps of Engineers looks set to receive some additional funding towards water infrastructure when the government re-opens for business.
Congress is considering the Water Resources Development Act to allow new forms of innovative financing for water infrastructure projects. The centerpiece of the legislation is to allow the Corps to use public-private partnerships – or P3s – to fund work. While the Senate limits P3s to 15 projects, the House version allows “at least” 15 projects. Among the other components is a potential $100 million a year contribution from the federal government in the Senate bill, as well as $5 billion in loans. The House bill does not contain this additional funding though. All of these issues will have to be resolved in conference on the legislation.
The hope is that this bill will let loose approximately $60 billion in work that has been log jammed due to insufficient funding. Many of the projects the money it would be designed to help are long overdue for attention.