In support of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act—legislation that would stimulate private sector investment in water infrastructure by modifying the tax code—United Water participated in a press event on June 2 alongside bill sponsors Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), who each emphasized the need for this change.
In the background, United Water construction crews worked to replace a broken underground valve leading to a 24-inch main that provides water to Cliffside Park residents. When the crew reached the valve, a ten-foot high jet of water shot out of the ground, creating mayhem as businessmen and members of the press frantically scrambled to avoid being sprayed by the geyser. Ironically, this reaffirmed the need for increased investment in the nation’s water infrastructure.
“It seems like every week a pipe bursts somewhere in New Jersey, destroying property and disrupting lives,” Sen. Menendez said. “We’ve under-invested in our infrastructure, certainly we’ve underinvested in water systems, and now we’re paying the price. These systems are old and badly degraded. Many of them are waiting to fail, and they need to be fixed.”
The bill, which sponsors will propose alongside a highway funding act, would remove caps on issuing private activity bonds (PAB) for water and wastewater projects. It comes at a time when the American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s water infrastructure a D-rating, as some of it has been in place for almost a century. Passage of the bill would benefit local economies, both by providing jobs and by preventing unplanned infrastructure shutdowns that could disrupt commerce.
“Our common sense solution not only invests in our nation’s aging infrastructure, but it creates good paying construction jobs in a way that costs the taxpayers very little,” Rep. Pascrell said. “It’s a win for our infrastructure, our environment and our economy.”
While federal funding is difficult to come by with the government’s current budget deficit, United Water will invest $220 million over the next three years into our New Jersey infrastructure as part of a billion-dollar, nationwide plan.
“We know that cities across New Jersey and across our nation need high levels of investment,” Iacullo said. “And that is why we support Senator Menendez and Congressman Pascrell and the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act which would allow these investments to be made in a more timely and cost effective way.