Rep. Bob Gibbs has drafted legislation that would create a TIFIA-type program to lower the cost of capital for water utilities, but state and local officials testifying at a hearing on Wednesday worried that it might eventually be used to replace, rather than supplement, state revolving loan funds.

The bill drafted by Gibbs, a Republican from Ohio who chairs the House Transportation Committee’s panel on water resources and environment, would create a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or WIFIA, program that would provide credit assistance in the form of loans and loan guarantees for water and wastewater projects. It would be similar to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA, which provides similar assistance for transportation projects.

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