The state is one step closer to creating a program that would help cities pay for things like pipes and drains. A bill to fund water infrastructure improvements passed unanimously in the state House on Monday.Â
Forty percent of the fund would go to help small water utilities. The billâ€™s co-author, Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington), says these big projects are often too expensive for ratepayers in small communities to shoulder on their own.
â€œAnd that raises the temptation of just not doing anything and then eventually you get to a crisis where your system just doesnâ€™t function. Now people are out of drinking water which is essential to live,â€ Pierce says.Â
Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso), who authored the legislation, says the state needs about $2.3 billion in infrastructure improvements and this bill accomplishes that. He says heâ€™s confident the State Senate will see the importance of this program.
â€œIf theyâ€™ve got a better way to do it I donâ€™t â€” Iâ€™m open to listening, but I think weâ€™re in good shape,â€ Soliday says.Â
To be eligible for financial assistance, cities would have to try to collaborate with other towns on water infrastructure projects and create a plan for how theyâ€™ll use the dollars.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.