Congressional Letter to Increase Federal Support for Water Infrastructure
This letter is open to all members of Jersey Water Works. To sign on, please fill out the form below with your name and affiliation by December 17th. Questions should be directed to Paula Figueroa Vega (pfigueroa@njfuture.org). To learn how to become a member of Jersey Water Works, visit the website (https://www.jerseywaterworks.org/about-the-collaborative/become-a-member/) Joining is free and just takes a minute.

Dear New Jersey Congressional Delegation,

We, the undersigned, are members of Jersey Water Works, a diverse statewide collaborative of over 600 people from labor, community and environmental organizations, water and sewer utilities, all levels of government, and communities impacted by environmental injustice. We share your concerns about the condition of the state’s water infrastructure, as many New Jersey communities confront multiple challenges, including aging infrastructure, lead in drinking water, polluted waterways, combined sewer overflows, climate change, and chronic flooding.

The combined cost of these needs far exceeds state and local resources and adds another burden on residents who are struggling to afford existing costs, especially given the income loss for many caused by COVID-19. These issues are statewide but especially acute in environmental justice communities—those that are home to low-income populations and communities of color. A targeted expansion of federal infrastructure funding would protect public health and strengthen communities while also providing a significant economic stimulus, which is vital during the ongoing pandemic.

A federal infrastructure investment can help ensure safe, healthy, and affordable water in New Jersey and across the country. These funds can be used to bolster the state’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds, support local efforts to replace lead service lines, improve affordability of water and sewer service for low-income residents, and make our state more resilient to natural hazards.

We urge you to support and share the following provisions with your colleagues in Congress. (More detail and background information on the above initiatives can be found in the attached pages):

- Increase the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) to $14 billion and $13 billion, respectively, over five years, as in the Senate’s bi-partisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2020 and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act (DWIA) of 2020, as well as revising limits on additional subsidization (aka “principal forgiveness”). Given the number of critical projects that are backlogged, this recommendation should be viewed as a starting point for consideration, as a collective need totaling upwards of $100 billion over five years could be justified.

- Support for amendment 829 to the Moving Forward Act, which authorized $22.5 billion over five years (i.e., $4.4 billion annually) to replace lead service lines (LSLs).
Create a federal low-income water and wastewater assistance program to provide financial and water efficiency assistance to low-income customers, as suggested by the EPA’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council’s Affordability Work Group in 2009.

- Advance climate solutions in the Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure as well as America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2020 and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act (DWIA) of 2020, that include solutions for small, financially disadvantaged, and rural communities.
- Develop a new COVID-19 recovery package that targets significant new investments in community development programs to address long-standing and unjust environmental, health, and economic burdens, specifically Community Development Financial Institutions, Community Development Block Grants, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program, expanded funding for federally qualified health centers, and Environmental Justice Small Grants Program.

With your leadership, we will ensure that all Americans have access to safe, affordable drinking water, flood- and sewage-free streets, and healthy waterways. For more information, please contact Paula Figueroa Vega at pfigueroa@njfuture.org.

Sincerely,


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