NewsPublic Affairs / December 6, 2016

Water Infrastructure Needs Getting Sidelined At Statehouse

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Some Indiana lawmakers are concerned that water infrastructure will get lost in the debate over roads and bridges this session. - stock photo

Some Indiana lawmakers are concerned that water infrastructure will get lost in the debate over roads and bridges this session.

stock photo

Some Indiana lawmakers are concerned that an infrastructure funding debate this session will focus almost exclusively on roads and bridges, and a water infrastructure discussion will get drowned out.

Two recent reports put the cost of maintaining Indiana’s water and sewer infrastructure at anywhere between about $300 million and $800 million every year, with more than $2 billion needed immediately to upgrade the system.

Yet House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says the priority next session will be paying for roads and bridges, not for what he calls “underground infrastructure.”

“I haven’t even thought about what the price tag would be for the underground infrastructure,” Brown says. “I’ll cross that bridge, literally, when we get to it.”

Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), long an advocate for addressing underground infrastructure, says he’s concerned about both roads and water/sewer needs coming to a head at once.

“How much of a stomach are we all going to have for doing some pretty significant things that we, as a body, I think historically haven’t taken very lightly,” Charbonneau says.

Charbonneau adds possible solutions to paying for water infrastructure needs have included increased rates and a water bottle tax.

At WFYI, our goal is to cover stories that matter to you. Our reporting is rooted in facts. It considers all perspectives and is available to everyone. We don't have paywalls, but we do need support. So if unbiased, trusted journalism is important to you, please join us. Donate now.

 

 

Related News

Indiana Must Count Mail-In Ballots Postmarked By Election Day, Rules Federal Judge
Vote-By-Mail Advocates Take Case To Federal Appeals Court
Former State Senator, Gaming Executive Charged With Campaign Finance Violations