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June 8, 2010

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NAWC On the Move

NAWC Participates in U.S. Chamber Event on a Water Infrastructure Bank

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Let’s Rebuild America hosted the fourth in a series of events that are examining the potential uses and designs for a National Infrastructure Bank. This particular panel asked the question: Can an Infrastructure Bank Deliver Improved Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems? NAWC’s Erika Berlinghof participated in the panel along with Aurel Arndt of Lehigh Valley Water Authority, John Flaherty of The Carlyle Group, and Stephen Sorett of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP.

Berlinghof laid out NAWC’s position on what the goals of an infrastructure bank should be: to increase the total investment in the nation’s infrastructure, not to substitute for existing investment; to attract additional private investors to additional projects; to change the way resources are allocated; to serve as a venue for good sustainable projects to receive merit-based funding; and to address a handful of market failures that currently limit high-risk transformational projects from being undertaken.

During a lively discussion, most panelists agreed that the bank could be transformational by providing incentives and rewards for water projects that seek private capital, and by providing additional low-cost capital, risk pooling and credit enhancements for such projects. The need to integrate the existing State Revolving Loan Fund programs into a bank by allowing the bank to purchase SRF debt was also addressed.

Following the chamber’s series on infrastructure banks, a white paper will be produced to lead the chamber’s position on a comprehensive policy proposal.

A webcast of the discussion can be watched here.


NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane participates in New Jersey Utilities Association Panel

NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane participated as a panelist at NJUA’s 95th Annual Conference in Galloway, N.J., on June 10, 2010. Specifically, he was involved in the breakout session titled, Opportunities and Challenges in Managing New Jersey’s Water Supplies, moderated by Commissioner Elizabeth Randall. Deane provided national perspective for the discussion on water supply and management challenges. The discussion focused in on “the value of water” and the need to educate customers and policymakers. Also sitting on the panel was NAWC member Dennis Ciemenicki.

By way of background, NJUA represents the 16 investor-owned utilities that provide electric, natural gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications services in New Jersey.