U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, was joined by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) and a bipartisan group of 32 additional senators on a letter to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging continued support for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. A nationwide investment in water infrastructure projects creates jobs, repairs crumbling infrastructure and protects public health.
In the letter to the Appropriations Committee, the Senators stressed the urgent need to revitalize our nation's deteriorating water infrastructure, which poses risks to human health and the environment from broken water and sewer mains and sewage overflows. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that over the next 20 years $187.9 billion is needed for wastewater improvements and $334.8 billion is needed to upgrade our nation's drinking water systems.
The letter also highlighted the tremendous job-creating potential of water infrastructure investment, which yields significant economic benefits for every dollar spent. The National Association of Utility Contractors estimates that $1 billion invested in water infrastructure can create more than 26,000 jobs.
Senator Cardin has been a strong advocate for water infrastructure investment that ensures American families have access to clean, safe water and create thousands of new, well-paying jobs. He has called on President Obama to include water infrastructure in his six-year plan for investing in our nation's infrastructure.
Joining Senators Cardin, Boxer and Inhofe on the letter to Appropriations Committee are U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), John Boozman (R-AR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Thune (R-SD), Mark Udall (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Dear Chairman Inouye, Vice Chairman Cochran, Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Murkowski:
As the Senate works to reduce the deficit, it is important that we provide continued support to programs like the Clean Water (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (DWSRF) that create jobs, repair crumbling infrastructure and protect public health. These programs invest in short- and long-term improvements in states and communities across the nation, providing significant environmental, economic and public health benefits.
Funding for water infrastructure is greatly needed and justified. It is well documented that our nation's water infrastructure is reaching a tipping point. Each day, the condition of our water infrastructure results in significant losses and damages from broken water and sewer mains, sewage overflows, and other symptoms of water infrastructure that is reaching the end of its useful life cycle. The American Society of Civil Engineers' latest infrastructure report card gave the nation's water infrastructure a D-, the lowest of any category. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates $187.9 billion in wastewater needs and $334.8 billion in drinking water needs over the next 20 years.
Investments in water infrastructure provide significant economic benefits to the economy and enjoy a strong return on investment. The U.S. Conference of Mayors notes that each public dollar invested in water infrastructure increases private long-term GDP output by $6.35. The National Association of Utility Contractors estimates that one billion dollars invested in water infrastructure can create over 26,000 jobs. In addition, the Department of Commerce estimates that each job created in the local water and sewer industry creates 3.68 jobs in the national economy and each public dollar spent yields $2.62 dollars in economic output in other industries. As you can see, this is a highly leveraged Federal investment that results in significant job and economic benefits for every dollar spent.
It is critical that the federal government remains a reliable partner in meeting the nation's clean water and safe drinking water needs. Therefore, we urge your continued support for investments in the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.