Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gov. Wolf Urges President To Deliver On Federal Funding For PA's Infrastructure Needs

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday sent a letter to President Trump asking him to renew federal support for Pennsylvania’s infrastructure needs.
“While many states, including Pennsylvania, have increased investments in our infrastructure, the federal government has not done the same,” said Gov. Wolf. “From the beginning, I have remained hopeful that the Trump Administration would prioritize infrastructure investments and would work with us to address our infrastructure needs to help bolster the commonwealth’s economy and support good paying jobs for Pennsylvanians. I urge the federal government to work with us on a meaningful proposal that will invest in our traditional public infrastructure.”
With respect to drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure needs, Gov. Wolf said--
“As with many northeastern states, Pennsylvania’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems are old and will continue to require significant investments to protect citizens, maintain sustainable communities for economic growth, and comply with federal mandates.
“Pennsylvania has more than 8,500 public water systems, and roughly 8,000 municipal sewage collection systems.  The challenge of maintaining these facilities is enormous, and falls largely on local communities.
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s most recently released drinking water infrastructure needs assessment report from April 2013 found that Pennsylvania will have $14 billion in capital improvement needs over the next twenty years to keep drinking water pure and safe for Pennsylvania residents.
“On the sewer infrastructure side, Pennsylvania currently has the most combined sewer overflows (CSOs) of any state, and there is no dedicated source of federal funding to address this issue, despite federal mandates which continue to create new obligations for communities across the commonwealth.
“Instead, a recent report by the Congressional Research Service noted that federal funding for programs that provide support for water and sewer upgrades has “eroded” in recent years, despite calls by states and advocates for increased support to meet increased needs.
“Meanwhile, the same report notes that in the absence of federal support, “spending by state and local governments on drinking water and wastewater has increased much faster than spending by the federal government, especially since the mid-1970s. In 2014, the state and local share of such projects was 96 percent, while the federal share was 4 percent.”
“Federal support for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which help municipalities pay for needed upgrades, replacement, and installation of treatment technologies has declined for years, and adjusted for inflation, funding today is hundreds of millions of dollars less than when the program was first authorized in 1997.
“Communities in Pennsylvania are struggling to pay for necessary infrastructure, while the federal share declines. A bipartisan infrastructure plan should include robust new funding for both the Drinking Water and the Clean Water State Revolving Funds, and the establishment of a separate fund to assist communities working towards compliance with pollution runoff and CSO issues.
Click Here to review the entire letter.

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