Water infrastructure advocates have received some encouraging news from the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has recommended a modest increase for 2006 in federal aid for states' Clean Water revolving funds. The panel included $1.1 billion for the state revolving funds, up $9 million from the 2005 level, in an Interior-Environment spending bill it approved on June 9.

President Bush proposed slashing the Clean Water SRFs to $730 million. The House has allotted $850 million in the Interior-Environment bill it passed on May 19. After the full Senate approves the measure, it would have to be reconciled with the House version.

For the broad Environmental Protection Agency water infrastructure account of which SRFs are a part, Senate appropriators provided $3.45 billion in 2006, down 3% from the 2005 mark, but 10% higher than the House recommendation.

In addition, the Senate panel and the House each included $850 million for drinking water SRFs, up $7 million from 2005 appropriations for that program.

In another important construction account, the Senate committee recommended $1.26 billion for Superfund, up $9 million from 2005 but $23 million less than Bush proposed and $2 million below the House number.