If you're writing on drinking water infrastructure, you would benefit from the sources included in this post. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its quadrennial "Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment," reporting a total 20-year capital improvement need (2011 through 2030) of $384.2 billion for infrastructure. This report, comparable to the 2007 EPA assessment, states that U.S. water systems have “entered a ‘rehabilitation and replacement era’ in which much of water utilities’ existing infrastructure has reached or is approaching the end of its useful life.” From Topeka to Chicago and New York, aging and corroded water pipes result in main breaks that take a toll.
The immensely popular Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (TIFIA), which provides federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit for eligible surface transportation projects, has dramatically expanded funding for FY 2013 and 2014.
The White House announced last Friday that it would redirect $473 million of “idle” earmark funding to highway projects as part of President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative. The plan will redistribute unspent earmarks from FY 2003-2006 and would be “immediately available to states for projects,” including eligible highway, transit, passenger rail, and port projects, “that will create jobs and help improve transportation across the country.” Some of the earmarked highway funds are nearly 10 years old.
States must identify the projects for which they plan to use the funds by October 1, and must obligate them by December 31, 2012. "Use it or lose it" is the name of the idle earmarks game.