Sens. Cruz, Rubio, Scott, Tillis Push for Fair Water Funding Formula Amendment
April 29, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) filed an amendment to the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (S. 914) to modernize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The CWSRF is a critically important federal funding mechanism that provides low-interest loans to states to upgrade and construct wastewater infrastructure. Unfortunately, the formula by which CWSRF monies are provided to the states has not been notably modified since 1987. As a result, the current formula is inequitable and disadvantages states with growing infrastructure needs.
Upon co-sponsoring this amendment, Sen. Cruz said:
"I am proud to join Sen. Rubio on his amendment to ensure that when the federal government spends money on infrastructure that it treats Texas fairly. Texas has seen tremendous population growth, and yet, the Democrat's bill used a horribly outdated funding formula - one based on 1980s population data - to allocate funds to the states. This approach is simply unfair and would enrich states like New York and Illinois, which are states that lost Congressional seats based on the 2020 Census, at the expense of Texans."
Sen. Rubio said:
"It is common sense that we should not be relying on arbitrary, decades-old formulas to allocate federal resources to states. Yet, that is exactly what is happening because a handful of states benefit from this out-of-date formula. We cannot allow these parochial concerns to continue harming states with growing water infrastructure needs like Florida and dozens of others. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment to modernize the CWSRF and enact a transparent and fair funding formula for all the states, territories, and tribes."
Sen. Scott said:
"My amendment with Senator Rubio will help ensure Florida receives the funding it deserves to preserve our waterways, environment and natural resources. The current funding formula hasn't been updated since 1987, yet Florida's population has grown by nearly 10 million since then. It's time to make this important change. People come from around the world to enjoy our state's natural beauty, and I will always work to protect our environment for generations to come."
Sen. Tillis added:
"Clean water is a basic need for every American. However, some states have seen high population growth in recent years and are not receiving the proper clean water funds to meet their needs. I am proud to work with my colleagues to update this 34-year-old allotment formula to ensure every state, including North Carolina, receives the necessary allocation, so everyone has access to clean water."
A 2016 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Report to Congress, Review of the Allotment of the CWSRF, reported that the current allotment formula does not adequately address the water infrastructure needs of most states, and recommended that Congress frequently update the CWSRF allotment formula. The CWSRF should more closely mirror the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which is regularly updated based on capital needs and population changes.
This amendment to the Drinking and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, would:
Modernize the CWSRF by significantly updating the Clean Water allotment formula for the first time since 1987 to better account for wastewater infrastructure needs based on population, and directing the EPA Administrator to develop a new formula based on a new needs survey, population data, and EPA water quality impairment data.
Update the allotment formula regularly by requiring the Administrator of the EPA to modify the formula annually based on the annual population estimates of each state, as published by the Bureau of the Census. This would be an interim formula that addresses wastewater needs more equitably than the current 34-year-old formula, while the EPA Administrator begins developing an equitable needs and population based formula by FY26, as recommended in the EPA's 2016 report to Congress.
Provide equitable allotments to each of the states by providing a uniform base allotment of ½ percent to every state, in addition to the population bonus that each state would receive.
Increase the proportion of CWSRF funds received by Native American Tribes and 35 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.