77th Annual Meeting

WATER AND WASTEWATER

WHEREAS, more than 50 mayors and infrastructure leaders from across the nation met at The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Action Forum on Infrastructure in New York City August 13-14, 2008, to develop an action agenda for a renewed commitment to America's infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, following that meeting a working group of mayors drafted a national action agenda on infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, that national action agenda includes a series of findings and recommendations for a new stronger relationship between the nation's mayors and the federal government to ensure that we update the country's antiquated infrastructure in ways that will keep us economically competitive, and do so in ways that are climate and energy centered; and

WHEREAS, the mayors and other leaders found that:

  • Local Government invests greatly in the nation's water and sewer infrastructure to keep citizens safe and the United States economically competitive. The Federal Government needs to renew its partnership with local government to protect this critical infrastructure;

  • Local Government is responsible for the vast majority of investment in water and sewer infrastructure, spending over $1.25 trillion from 1956 through 2005 ($85 billion in 2005 alone);

  • Meanwhile, the federal contribution over this period was about 7% ($91 Billion) with $56 billion provided to cities from 1972 through 1990 in the form of wastewater construction grants;

  • These construction grants, which helped cities comply with the regulations of the Clean Water Act, were phased out by 1990 and replaced by the State Revolving Fund Loan Program which has steadily been cut over the years;

  • Despite the tremendous investment by local government, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there still is a $500 billion "needs gap" to meet our water and wastewater infrastructure needs and to comply with current environmental mandates;

  • A recent report by the Cadmus Group for The U.S. Conference of Mayors, determined that Water and Wastewater Infrastructure investment stimulates the nation's economy and creates jobs;

  • For every one dollar of water and sewer infrastructure investment, it is estimated that Gross Domestic Product increases by $6.35 in the long-term. For each additional dollar spent on operating and maintaining water and sewer industry, the increase of revenue or economic output for all industries is increased by $2.62 in that year;

  • In addition, for every one job added in water and sewer creates 3.68 jobs in the national economy to support that job;
and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors adopts as its policy the investments called for by the mayors in the National Action Agenda on Infrastructure to renew and strengthen the federal commitment to the nation's water and wastewater needs:

  • Remove Private Activity Bonds for water/wastewater infrastructure from State Volume Caps;

  • Fully fund federally-passed environmental mandates and court-ordered consent decrees applicable to water and wastewater systems (e.g., combined-sewer and wet weather overflow issues);

  • Place priority on funding rehabilitation of aging infrastructure (leaking pipes are a concern for most cities who can lose anywhere from 5-40% of their water), improvements that protect water and sewer infrastructure from catastrophic events, and ensure source water availability (35% of cities in a Conference of Mayors survey do not know where their water supply will come from by 2025);

  • Allocate an additional $50 billion over 10 years in this way: $3 billion annually in grants to cities to comply with sewer overflow infrastructure; and $2 billion annually in additional SRF loan funding for rehabilitation of aging infrastructure, protection of water and sewer infrastructure, and promote source water availability;

  • Address future infrastructure needs through a mix of funding sources;

  • Increase program/policy flexibility to allow cities to undertake locally-designed strategies, emphasizing green infrastructure and other flexible and innovative solutions;

  • Plan for and fund infrastructure improvements related to climate change, including adapting to events such as droughts, floods, and rising sea levels.