Apr 28, 2011

Pennsylvania Water Official Calls for Local Solutions to Infrastructure Debacle

Official says state shouldn’t count on federal bailouts to fix aging and inefficient water infrastructure

In the keynote address to the 2011 Pennsylvania Infrastructure Summit, Pennsylvania American Water President Kathy L. Pape said Wednesday that expecting government bailouts is not a realistic, long-term solution to fix aging water and wastewater systems, which require billions of dollars of capital investment. Instead, she proposed a number of public-private solutions to help tackle the costly infrastructure challenges facing many communities in the commonwealth and across the country.

In light of the massive federal debt and the state facing a $4 billion budget deficit, Pape said adequate government funding is simply not available to replace aging pipeline, rehabilitate outdated treatment facilities or build new plants to comply with stricter water-quality regulations. She noted that President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget slashed approximately $1 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s infrastructure funding.

“Looking to Washington or Harrisburg for a financial bailout is not the answer,” Pape said. “We need to change this cycle of rewarding inefficiency, which leads to bad management practices.”