U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on March 23 joined her colleagues on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee to unveil a major bipartisan bill that would authorize more than $35 billion to fix America’s crumbling water infrastructure.

“This bill is not a band-aid — it provides essential assistance to our country’s aging water systems and the communities they serve,” Sen. Capito said. “In a greater sense, this bill also represents the solid work that comes out of good-faith negotiations. This is a meaningful bill every Republican and Democrat can get behind.”

Sen. Capito led 10 other original cosponsors to introduce the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, S. 914, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

If enacted, S. 914 would direct funds to water resource development projects across the country, focusing on upgrading aging infrastructure, addressing the threat of climate change, investing in new technologies, and providing assistance to marginalized communities.

“The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act will advance infrastructure to help local communities keep their drinking water safe and clean,” said Sen. Capito. “With investments to identify and prevent water loss, test water quality, increase resilience in infrastructure, and recruit the next generation of our water workforce, the priorities laid out in the bill speak to the bipartisan goal of ensuring neglected water systems are not merely tended to, but made stronger.”

Sen. Capito, ranking member of the Senate EPW Committee, worked across the aisle with fellow bill cosponsor U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the EPW Committee, to put forth S. 914.  

“Chairman Carper and I worked together and never took our eye off our mutual goal: a bipartisan bill that can pass both chambers and be signed into law. We have that here with this bill,” she said. “Our committee serves as the example of how infrastructure can be done on a bipartisan basis, and I hope to continue in this spirit as we work on other infrastructure priorities.”

“This is a crisis — one that is acutely felt by the most vulnerable among us — and we have a moral obligation to fix it,” said Sen.  Carper. “The bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act is a critical step to strengthen our nation’s water systems and ensure that all Americans have access to clean and safe drinking water and wastewater.”

Under the bill, of the more than $35 billion to be invested in water resource development projects, more than 40 percent would be directed to benefit small, disadvantaged, rural, and tribal communities through additional subsidization from the State Revolving Loan Funds or direct grant programs, among other provisions, according to the bill summary.

The Senate EPW Committee is currently reviewing the proposed bill.