Recently the Trump Administration has released it’s preliminary, top line budget for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget, including for EPA. While NACWA is still conducting a detailed analysis of the proposal, the Association would like to release an initial statement.
The budget proposes funding EPA at $5.7B for FY 2018 – a 31% cut from current funding levels. This is the most significant proposed cut by the Administration for any federal agency. However, in good news for infrastructure funding, the budget proposes maintaining funding levels for the State Revolving Loan Funds (SRFs) at $2.3B – and even suggests a modest $4M increase – while also proposing $20M for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. Although the exact breakdown of the $2.3 billion SRF amount between the clean water and drinking water funds is not spelled out in the budget proposal (these details will be made available by the Administration at a later date), the strong support for the SRFs overall is a positive sign.
NACWA has been a strong proponent of water infrastructure funding with the Trump Administration, both during the transition period and since taking office, and we are pleased to see that the Association’s requests for continued SRF support is reflected in the President’s budget proposal. NACWA will continue to aggressively advocate for infrastructure funding as the budget development process moves to Congress, including opposition to any efforts to lower infrastructure funding amounts.
However, the EPA budget proposal does make significant cuts to other programs of importance to NACWA members. Most concerningly, the budget would totally eliminate funding for critical geographic programs such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay, and others; significantly cuts grant funding to states; and slashes EPA’s research budget. These are all cuts to programs that benefit municipal clean water utilities, and NACWA will be working with other partners in the water sector to oppose these funding reductions.
It is important to note that this proposed budget is just the first step in the budgeting process. The Administration will release a more detailed budget proposal in May, and then the focus will shift to Capitol Hill where Congress will ultimately write a final budget. For those of you that will be in Washington next week for Water Week, you will have an excellent opportunity to weigh in with your members of Congress on the proposed budget numbers and make clear what funding issues are of most importance to your utility and local community.
NACWA plans to distribute a more detailed analysis of the proposed budget soon.
SOURCE: National Association of Clean Water Agencies