My latest commentary discusses the passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act in Congress last week, which includes provisions establishing two new pilot programs designed to encourage public-private partnerships to deliver a variety of different types of water-related projects. Here's an excerpt:
Recent action in Congress may catalyze more private investment in water and wastewater infrastructure in the U.S. Last week, the House and Senate both passed the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014 (H.R. 3080) by overwhelming margins. If signed into law by President Obama, the legislation will create a new five-year pilot program—the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA)— offering low-interest federal loans and loan guarantees to help finance significant water projects through public-private partnerships (PPPs), lowering the cost of capital for such projects.
Specifically, under the WIFIA program, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be authorized to provide up to $175 million in direct loans and loan guarantees for the construction of critical water infrastructure projects—such as drinking water systems, wastewater treatment plants, desalination plants, new water supply facilities, levee and flood control projects—including those delivered through PPPs. Eligible loan/guarantee recipients include state and local governments, corporations, partnerships, joint ventures, trusts, tribal governments, and state infrastructure financing authorities.
The full article is available here.