U.S. Rep. John Boozman (R-AR), the RankingRepublican of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment,today supported legislation authorizing the extension of expired CleanWater Act programs but questioned the bill's incorporation of theDavis-Bacon Act.
The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held asubcommittee markup today on H.R. 1262, the "Water Quality InvestmentAct of 2009."
"The bill includes a provision that would cause all projectsfunded in whole or in part by the State Revolving Loan Fund to besubject to the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act, meaning thatprevailing wage rate standards would apply even in right-to-work Stateslike Arkansas. This is an expansion of how Davis-Bacon has applied tothis program in the past," said Boozman.
"Although the American people have been very generous to theStates in making resources available during our economic recovery, thoseresources are going to be stretched to their maximum extent possible.Yet we still have needs that will be unmet. We feel that expanding theapplication of the Davis-Bacon Act will artificially increase the costof construction of these important infrastructure projects. This willonly ensure that it will take longer in our achieving the necessaryrecovery. With the Davis-Bacon expansion, this program will createfewer jobs and will result in less clean water."
"To spend more to accomplish less is not something we arecomfortable doing in Arkansas and not something the American taxpayershould be funding during these times of economic hardship," Boozmancontinued.
"While I remain genuinely concerned regarding the adverse affects of theDavis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements will have on jobs and cleanwater, I support the legislation on balance," Boozman said.
H.R. 1262 reauthorizes the Clean Water State Revolving LoanFund that provides low interest loans to communities for wastewaterinfrastructure projects. The bill provides more than $13 billion overfive years. Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 also extends the pilotprogram under the Clean Water Act for alternative water source projects,reauthorizes grants to help communities address the widespread problemof sewer overflows, requires that communities monitor for potentialoverflows in their sewer systems and notify the public whenever arelease would threaten public health and safety, and reauthorizes theGreat Lakes Legacy Act.