WASHINGTON, D.C.— Rep. Greg Stanton this week introduced the Environmental Infrastructure Assistance Act to help fund water-related infrastructure projects in Arizona. 
The legislation would provide $150 million through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to assist local governments and publicly-owned water systems with design and construction of water-related infrastructure projects. 
The bill already has support from the Arizona Water Association and the Rural Water Association of Arizona (RWAA). 
“Small and rural communities across Arizona often lack the significant financial resources to make much needed repairs and replacement of their aging infrastructure,” Stanton said. “The Environmental Infrastructure Assistance Act is a new resource to help communities meet their infrastructure needs and protect our water. It’s not enough to focus on building and repairing our roads, bridges and airports—we also need to address our water delivery systems.”
In its most recent annual infrastructure report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives Arizona’s drinking water and wastewater systems grades of C- and C respectively. According to the report card, Arizona will have $1.93 billion in drinking water needs and $6.77 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. [Source
Despite these needs, Arizona has not received its fair share of infrastructure funds. But other states, including New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and Ohio, are benefiting from similar environmental infrastructure programs. In fiscal year 2019, Congress provided $77 million for USACE environmental infrastructure. Funding per project in fiscal year 2019 varied among states but averaged $1.4 million to $2.3 million. 
Many small communities need federal investment to address these infrastructure challenges. Projects supported by Stanton’s bill could include
  • Wastewater treatment and related facilities, sewer overflow;
  • Water supply, storage, treatment and related facilities;
  • Environmental restoration;
  • Surface water resource protection and development.
Costs for projects would be shared on a 75 percent federal, 25 percent non-federal sponsor basis.  
“Our cities and rural areas are facing issues associated with procuring and maintaining adequate water supplies, aging infrastructure maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement,” said Arizona Water Association President Lisa A. Jackson. “This legislation provides funds to begin to address our cities’ and other providers’ infrastructure issues. It is good for the environment and our state’s public health.”
“Communities that have been waiting for additional, affordable resources to address water infrastructure needs would be able to move forward with the enactment of this new law,” said RWAA Executive Director Jason Long.