We hear so much about the partisan bickering in Washington but Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and others showed this week that Democrats and Republicans can work together when they want.
Inhofe joined Sens. John Boozman, Republican from Arkansas; Cory Booker, Democrat from New Jersey and Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California in introducing legislation to modernize investment in water infrastructure.
“Oklahoma communities are struggling to supply water to their growing populations, upgrade water infrastructure that is beyond its useful life, and keep up with the multitude of unfunded federal mandates they must comply with. These issues are not unique to Oklahoma and this legislation will give states greater flexibility to set priorities and get projects off the ground,” said Inhofe, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works’ Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Their bill amends the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014. It would in part authorize $200 million a year over five years to support revolving funds projects exclusively. It would also allow thousands of vetted drinking water and wastewater projects to get funding. The Senators say their plan would eliminate the need for the EPA to process the loan applications.
“We have a more than $500 billion shortfall for water infrastructure funding in this country. This is a national emergency. Access to safe and clean water is critical to the livelihood of every American. This legislation is an innovative approach to helping communities of all sizes, in every state secure loans so they can improve their crumbling infrastructure,” said Boozman, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works’ Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife.
Similar legislation has already been introduced in the House by Reps. John Katko of New York and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. Katyko’s a Republican and Blumenauer is a Democrat.