AWWA: Stimulus Funds Fill Glass Half Full

President Barack Obama on Feb. 17 signed into law an economic stimulus bill that provides $2 billion for drinking water projects and $4 billion for wastewater projects. American Water Works Association (AWWA) Executive Director Gary Zimmerman issued the following statement.

“For communities seeking to repair or replace critical water infrastructure, today’s signing represents and important step forward in addressing a growing national challenge. The more than $6 billion committed for water and wastewater needs will push forward projects critical to our nation’s public health protection, fire protection, economic strength, and our overall quality of life.

"While the funds committed represent only a tiny fraction of the need, AWWA is optimistic that the investment in water will jump-start many critical projects and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. From this perspective, the glass is certainly half full.

"We applaud Congress’s decision to waive requirements that states provide matching funds, which would be difficult in today’s economic climate and will speed distribution of funds. It also makes good sense to give priority to projects that can begin construction within a year, giving utilities necessary time to complete construction plans or obtain environmental permits.

"These funds will be distributed through State Revolving Loan Fund programs with at least half being issued as grants, negative-interest loans, or similar no-cost financing tools. AWWA will actively assist its members in understanding how to apply for and secure these funds, including offering a free Webcast at 1 p.m. EDT on Feb. 26.

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