Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Message to Rell: Put More Money in the Clean Water Fund

Governor Jodi Rell heard yesterday that her proposal to put $140 million over two years in Connecticut’s Clean Water Fund, while well-intentioned, misses the mark (I wrote about it here earlier in February, and there's more background here). A coalition of municipalities, environmentalists, construction and labor people, and lobstermen went to Hartford and, with a bevy of state Legislators supporting them, called on Rell to double her Clean Water Fund Allocation. From the Hartford Courant:

The Clean Water Investment Coalition said the state needs to allocate about $300 million over the next two years to water-related public works projects, the full amount requested by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy - compared with the $140 million Rell has proposed….

Sen. Bill Finch, D-Bridgeport, said the Sound is Connecticut's equivalent of the Grand Canyon. Boosting funding for clean water projects may be "the single most important thing the environment committee can do for years and years," he said.

Bill Finch, you may remember, is the oyster-eating senator whom Soundkeeper/Legislator Terry Backer brought out on a boat last September as a way of grabbing his colleagues’ attention.

There’s no indication in the Courant article of what Rell would accept, but one would think that if McCarthy (a Rell appointee) is pushing for it, and if the General Assembly is pushing for it, the amount of money on the fund will increase.



Blogger Sam said...

Welcome back, Tom. Hey could you explain something about the Clean Water Fund? If the EPA matches 50:50, one would only need about $150 million in state funds, right?

Therefore, one would Authorize $150 million for the state budget, which might be funded by taxes and bonds, but would Appropriate $300 million, which includes any grants, administrative costs, and all that boogie.

Like anything related to water quality, I'm sure there are lots of "pass-throughs," "fully loaded rates," "bubble-ups," "flow-downs" and other accountant speak.

I know, bad joke ...

11:12 AM  
Blogger Tom Andersen said...

There's no federal money at all for sewage treatment plant upgrades. The state and localities fund everything. That's why Connecticut's Clean Water Fund is so important -- it's a source of outright grants and of low-interest loans. All Connecticut communities are eligible but lots of them -- Bridgeport, New Haven, e.g. -- really need it.


9:23 AM  

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