GOVERNOR PATRICK, CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION RELEASE $185 MILLION IN FEDERAL RECOVERY FUNDS FOR WATER INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES, PROJECTS WILL CREATE THOUSANDS OF JOBS
BOSTON - Monday, January 25, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, Governor Deval Patrick and members of the congressional delegation today released $185 million in federal recovery funds for water infrastructure improvement projects. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants and State Revolving Fund (SRF) financing will support statewide construction projects worth nearly $800 million, maintaining and creating thousands of jobs across Massachusetts.
"The federal Recovery Act is all about creating economic activity and putting people to work," said Governor Patrick. "With these funds, we are maximizing economic activity by doubling the amount of water infrastructure investment taking place this year, reducing project costs for municipalities, and using renewable energy to reduce operating costs at these energy intensive facilities. I thank the members of the Congressional delegation for delivering for Massachusetts."
"Today's announcement of the federal stimulus awards for construction projects will further support infrastructure investment and job creation in communities across the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Governor Patrick and I are thankful for the federal delegation's strong leadership, which has leveraged critical funds for Massachusetts that will complement financing solutions through the State Revolving Fund and lead to healthy, growing economies across all regions in the state."
"This substantial investment means repaired infrastructure, clean water, and cities and towns equipped to maintain their water and sewage facilities. This federal-state partnership is vital to the economic future of Massachusetts," said Senator John Kerry.
"This federal stimulus funding will result in millions of dollars in savings for ratepayers. I've worked closely with cities and towns for years on their clean water issues, and I know how important federal funding will be. All of us share in the goal of clean water. During these tough economic times, it's critical that the federal government step up and help cities and towns comply with federal requirements," said Congressman Jim McGovern.
"Today's announcement will provide communities in western and central Massachusetts with millions of dollars in federal stimulus money for vital water infrastructure projects. This significant investment will create jobs, help improve the local economy and make our drinking water cleaner. It is another reminder of how the stimulus is making a difference in Massachusetts. I congratulate Governor Patrick on his leadership of this high priority program," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
"Recognizing the unprecedented unmet needs facing our decaying water infrastructure, Congress provided Recovery Act funding for local communities to create jobs and safeguard water supplies," said Congressman John Tierney. "I am particularly pleased that 8 projects - totaling over $70 million - will receive funding in the Sixth District, including nearly $1.5 million in loan forgiveness for the $13 million Gloucester Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade, which, combined with any financing at the local level, will help address one of the city's key priorities."
"Protecting our coastal waters is one of the most important challenges facing the Cape and Islands right now," said Congressman William Delahunt. "However, the costs are simply staggering and our communities need all the help they can get. As we move forward, we will not only be helping the environment but giving a huge boost to the local economy."
"Many of these water projects, such as in Brockton, Canton, and Holbrook, have been on hold for a long time due to lack of funding. Directing federal funds to these basic and necessary projects will be a shot in the arm for our cities and towns while creating and maintaining badly needed jobs," said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch.
"It is a pleasure to be in Maynard this afternoon to help announce these Recovery Act funds which will improve water infrastructure in the cities and towns of Fifth District and across the Commonwealth," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who joined Governor Patrick at the Maynard Wastewater Treatment Facility. "In addition to helping communities with the cost of these needed drinking and clean water projects, these funds also support local job creation and the protection of our nearby rivers such as the Assabet here in Maynard. I want to thank Governor Patrick for working with our cities and towns to leverage this federal investment."
The contracts funded through SRF and ARRA include wastewater projects such as sewage treatment facilities and combined sewer overflow improvements. Drinking water projects include water treatment plants, storage tanks, and new water main and piping systems. The SRF provides 2 percent low-interest loans for communities to finance these expensive capital investments in their water infrastructure. This year, ARRA funding will lower costs to cities and towns by providing principle forgiveness, which will reduce the amount financed by 11 percent for wastewater projects and 20 percent for drinking water projects.
Under federal rules, the Commonwealth could have applied the ARRA funds to reduce the costs of only 71 projects then-approved for SRF loans, representing just over $400 million of construction contracts and with several of them already under construction. In order to maximize economic activity, however, the Patrick-Murray Administration opened up eligibility for additional projects that could qualify for SRF support by the ARRA deadline of February 17, 2010. With the enticement of ARRA funding, the number of waterworks projects grew to 120 statewide, with contracts totaling nearly $800 million. Based on industry estimates, that level of spending will preserve or create up to 4,000 construction jobs.
"Protecting water resources in Massachusetts cities and towns is a top priority," said Treasurer Tim Cahill, chair of the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust. "I want to thank our partners in the Governor's office and the congressional delegation for helping to advance this important program. Today's announcement will benefit both taxpayers and the environment."
"With the unemployment rate on the rise again, our number one priority must be in getting people back to work. This $185 million in ARRA funds will leverage $800 million in water infrastructure construction projects. And we will create or preserve up to 4,000 jobs right here in the Commonwealth. This type of recovery plan is exactly what we need to be doing right now," said Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight.
"I am pleased with the Administration's commitment to provide cities and towns with recovery funds for water infrastructure. By investing in green infrastructure improvements at existing water facilities, cities and towns will have lower energy costs by developing their own renewable energy," said Representative David Linsky, House Chair, Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight.
"These challenging economic times could have forced municipalities to delay or give up on much-needed drinking water and wastewater projects. Instead, thanks to Recovery Act funding, even more projects will go forward, creating jobs, protecting public health, and bringing clean energy to our waterworks," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles.
ARRA also required, for the first time, that at least 20 percent of new SRF funds be used for "green infrastructure" improvements at water facilities. This requirement was modeled on a previous Massachusetts Energy Management Pilot Project, which identified energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations that could reduce operating costs and emissions of greenhouse gases from municipal wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities. These facilities are highly energy intensive and account for up to 30 percent of municipal electric bills. Some $67 million of ARRA money will be used for the state's largest procurement of solar power installation, which is in the process of being awarded, as well as other renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades at waterworks across the Commonwealth.
"By including green infrastructure improvements in these treatment plant projects, Massachusetts continues to lead the way in achieving environmental advances," said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Laurie Burt. "Installation of solar, wind, and other advanced technologies will cut energy use at these facilities, reduce operational costs, and shrink the carbon footprint of each community."
Combining state and federal funds, the Commonwealth awards low-interest loans through the SRF, which is administered by the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust, a joint effort of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and the State Treasurer's Office. The SRF comprises two programs: the Clean Water Fund, which has awarded nearly $3.9 billion in loans since 1991; and the Drinking Water Fund, which has awarded more than $975 million to projects since 1999.
For more information on projects funded by ARRA, please visit . The water infrastructure projects funded by ARRA and SRF can be found at http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/wastewater/wastewat.htm.