U.S. Senate Passes $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill; Ian LeMay, Dave Puglia, Ian Lyle, Jamie Johansson, Dave Eggerton, and Dan Keppen Discuss
IRVINE, CA - The $1 trillion infrastructure package recently secured enough votes to pass in the U.S. Senate in what is seen as a victory for the White House as it works to inject the nation’s largest investment in roads, bridges, airports, and waterways in decades.
“The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) welcomed the news this morning of the Senate’s passage of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Package,” stated Ian LeMay, California Fresh Fruit Association President. “The $8 billion identified in this package for western water infrastructure is beyond necessary and comes at a time when states like California have immense need for resources to fortify and expand our water infrastructure. This was a significant step forward, and we thank those Senators who had the bipartisan fortitude to make this a reality.”
As the industry continues to battle pressing challenges caused by wildfires and extreme drought conditions in the West, thousands of western farmers, ranchers, water providers, businesses, and communities underscored the significance of the bill’s passage and urged the House to mirror the water provisions in its own infrastructure package.
“We commend the Senate for taking this historic action,” Western Growers President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Puglia said. “Without access to a safe, reliable, and affordable water supply, the long-term viability of our family farms and rural communities in the West are in jeopardy, along with more than 80 percent of all U.S. fruit, vegetable, and tree nut production. As the current drought has demonstrated, time is running out, which is why we call on the House to act with urgency and pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act without delay.”
As noted in a recent press release, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes more than $8 billion to repair aging dams and canals, build new surface and groundwater storage and conveyance facilities, fund water conservation and recycling projects, and enhance watershed management, and improve ecosystems.
National Water Resources Association Executive Vice President Ian Lyle also shined a light on what this vote means for the industry going forward.
“With this vote, the Senate has made a historic investment in water infrastructure, which will pay dividends for our communities, our economy, and our environment, both now and into the future. We thank the Senate for its vote and encourage the House to take up and pass this critical legislation,” he said.
The release also explained that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aligns with the solutions water managers across the West have been requesting for years and also provides a balanced package of tools that local and regional managers can select from to resolve the water needs and challenges in their local communities.
"With drought conditions continuing to worsen throughout the West, now is the time to invest and make timely improvements in our nation’s water management portfolio. The diverse investments in western water infrastructure and our national forestlands included in this package will assist farmers, ranchers, water providers and rural communities impacted by wildfires, water shortages, and a changing hydrology,” California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson said.
The proposed infrastructure package provides the opportunity to support the nation’s economic recovery, as both workers and the economy will benefit from the increased demand for the equipment and materials that these water projects will require.
Dave Eggerton, Executive Director of the Association of California Water Agencies also weighed in on the need for pivotal investments to help resolve persisting water challenges.
“We need to make major investments, including in water recycling, ecosystem restoration, desalination, and storage projects to modernize and upgrade our water infrastructure to ensure local, safe, reliable, high-quality water now and in future years. This bipartisan legislation accomplishes that,” he said.
Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen echoed these sentiments.
“The western water provisions included in this package represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in a reliable and sustainable water supply that supports our farms, businesses and rural and urban communities. We applaud the bipartisan approach taken by our Senate champions in moving this solution forward at a time of unprecedented drought in the West," he explained.
AndNowUKnow will continue to report as the agricultural industry sees more policy changes and advancements, so keep reading.