ASA Supports Strengthening WIFIA Funding on Water Infrastructure Projects
ASA supports Rep. Bost (R-IL)’s legislation (H.R. 1740) that would amend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014 to establish payment and performance security requirements for projects. This legislation would protect taxpayer funding, ensure project completion, support economic growth, and assist local small business subcontractors and workers. Public-private partnership (P3s) benefiting from WIFIA assistance need adequate bonding requirements. State P3 laws often do not provide the same level of protections required for all other public infrastructure projects. Congress supported the need to close a similar loophole for the TIFIA program by including a policy fix, by a unanimous 97-0 Senate vote, in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). WIFIA should require similar bonding practices as TIFIA.
This proposed legislation would ensure construction projects receiving WIFIA assistance use appropriate payment and performance security protections. Additionally, the EPA Administrator and/or the Army Secretary must accept state bonding requirements if bonding is required at 50 percent of the construction costs, the industry minimum standard for security for large water projects and setting a minimum floor for bonding WIFIA-financed projects.
Finally, bonding does not add to bureaucratic processes of delays in infrastructure development. All the contractors who bid on these large projects already have longstanding bonding programs in place.