Addressing Declining Appropriations for Bureau of Reclamation Infrastructure: Policies Needed for Enabling Private Finance
© 2018 American Water Resources Association Western water infrastructure was funded in the early and mid-20th Century through federal financing through the Bureau of Reclamation. Over the past 30 years, federal financing has been less forthcoming, which has been commensurate with an increase in the need for financing rehabilitation and replacement of western irrigation infrastructure. As federal appropriations have declined, there has been increased interest in alternative approaches to infrastructure including public–private partnerships (P3s), loan guarantees, or title transfer of federal infrastructure. However, two of these approaches — P3s and loan guarantees — are precluded by existing federal budgetary policies, particularly Office of Management and Budget (OMB) scoring practices. If the OMB changed its policies for P3s or loan guarantees, private capital could play an important role in recapitalizing aging Reclamation infrastructure.
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