NewsPublic Affairs / February 18, 2019

Water Infrastructure Funding Bill Passes House

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Airmen at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma install a water pipe behind a tanker fuel yard, 2012  - (U.S. Air Force)

Airmen at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma install a water pipe behind a tanker fuel yard, 2012

(U.S. Air Force)

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.

Forty percent of the fund would go to help small water utilities. The bill'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.

"And that raises the temptation of just not doing anything and then eventually you get to a crisis where your system just doesn't function. Now people are out of drinking water which is essential to live," Pierce says.

READ MORE: Bill To Fund Water Infrastructure Improvements Passes Committee

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 he's confident the State Senate will see the importance of this program.

"If they've got a better way to do it I don't - I'm open to listening, but I think we're in good shape," Soliday says.

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 they'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.

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