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Government & Industry Relations

Political Insider Report

March 22, 2018

The Fiscal 2018 $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill – Money, Money, Money, Money . . . Money! (Part 1)

Earlier this afternoon, the House passed, by a sizable bipartisan majority, a massive appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018. The final vote was 256-167 (Republicans by 145-90; Democrats by 111-77).  The Senate must pass the measure by Friday night to avoid a government shutdown. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is reading the entire 2,232 page measure, and he’s apparently on page 56, so this could get interesting.  President Trump will sign it.

Once the dust settles, we’ll shoot out a Part 2 Insider on this Omnibus spending package, with a full analysis as to how it impacts our industry.  In the meantime, here is an infrastructure overview of what’s in the “House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1625, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018”:

Rural Infrastructure

  • More than $3 billion for rural water and waste program loans ($1.8 billion above the fiscal 2017 level).

  • Almost $1 billion for rural water and waste program grants (more than $500 million above the fiscal  2017 level).

  • More than $685 million for expansion of broadband service ($625 million above the fiscal 2017 level).

  • $6.9 billion for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans (unchanged from fiscal 2017).

Environmental (EPA) Infrastructure

  • $2.9 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan funds ($600 million above the fiscal 2017 level).

  • $1.15 billion for the clean-up of Superfund sites ($63 million above the fiscal 2017 level).

  • A total of $63 million for the WIFIA program. The GOP believes this investment will generate $6 billion for water infrastructure projects.

Community Development Block Grants

  • $3.3 billion ($300 million above the fiscal 2017 level). These block grants are used by states and communities to build infrastructure projects, including utility projects.

Federal Highway Program

  • Highway infrastructure programs are funded at $46.76 billion (an 8% increase over fiscal 2017 levels).

Other Industry-Related Federal Infrastructure Programs

  • Increased funding can also be expected in the Omnibus for the Army Corps, Bureau of Reclamation, military construction, and U.S. DOT rail infrastructure.

NUCANs, this is a great package for federal infrastructure investment.  Also, these are not new baseline numbers for the future. This is a snapshot that may be tweaked in the final analysis.  Once again, when the Omnibus spending package is law, we’ll follow up with a comprehensive report.

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