Plan calls for additional $1 billion worth of water and sewer grants
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced that he is working to secure an additional billion dollars to be distributed as grants to communities to address their massive water and sewer infrastructure needs.
Schumer said that he is also pushing to increase the amount of total federal funding available for water and sewer projects to $3.75 billion, more than double what was made available last year through the appropriations process. The federal government is currently planning on giving all water and sewer funds out as loans, which Schumer said will burden communities in the future and limit their flexibility of financing. The funding would help address the backlog of water infrastructure projects in communities in New York State, and prevent communities from having to levy significant tax increases to repair crumbling infrastructure. Schumer said that this funding will not take care of all of New York's needs, but will begin to address the problem and once again bring the federal government back to the table to help address these problems - a role they have stepped away from over the last decade.
Here is how the numbers break down across the state:
Through the CWSRF program, each state maintains revolving loan funds to provide independent and permanent sources of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects, such as sewer repair and reconstruction. States have the flexibility to target resources to their particular environmental needs, including contaminated runoff from urban and agricultural areas, wetlands restoration, groundwater protection, brownfields remediation, estuary management, and wastewater treatment.
Under these two programs the federal government provides funding to the states who in turn select local projects to fund. If Schumer's suggestions are accepted, at least 30 percent of this funding will be made available to go out as grants, instead of loans, providing relief for local tax payers.
To provide additional funding for our nations aging sewer system, Schumer is co-sponsoring legislation in the Senate, S.936 The Water Quality Investment Act of 2009, to increase federal grant funding for municipal sewage infrastructures by providing funding for upgrades of sewage treatment plants across the state.