Alethea Pieters,
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May 19, 2010 - For immediate release:

Massachusetts Recognized as National Leader for Putting Recovery Act Waterworks Funds to Work

U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Commends Massachusetts for obligating all Waterworks funds by March 31, 2010

BOSTON - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - The Patrick-Murray Administration announced today that Congressman James Oberstar, chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has commended Massachusetts for having obligated 100 percent of its funding for wastewater infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Massachusetts received $177.8 million under the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By distributing the funds to cities and towns as low-interest loans with nine percent principle forgiveness, Massachusetts has been able to leverage its State Revolving Fund allocation to finance $770 million worth of construction in the Commonwealth - more waterworks construction than any other state in the nation.

"We appreciate Chairman Oberstar for recognizing Massachusetts as a national leader in this field. We strive to maximize the economic impact of all our Recovery dollars by making wise, strategic investments that create jobs for today and tomorrow, fix our neglected infrastructure, and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for the long-term," said Governor Patrick. "Clearly, our efforts are paying off."

As of March 31, Massachusetts has put out to bid, signed contracts for, and begun construction on 100 percent of its waterworks projects, a total of 111 projects statewide. Among the 24 states that have fully obligated their funding and begun construction, Massachusetts projects have the highest construction value.

"This is a perfect example of how our strategic approach to spending Recovery dollars has paid off - literally and figuratively," said Jeffrey Simon, Director of the Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Office. "We are proud to be recognized as trailblazers in this effort."

Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund projects across the Commonwealth include upgrades to municipal sewage treatment plans, water storage tanks, water main installations and upgrades, and solar panel installations. 4.1 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity, enough to power the equivalent of over 650 homes in the Commonwealth, will be installed at 12 drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities-the largest solar procurement in the Commonwealth's history. Based on industry estimates, this level of spending will create or preserve up to 4,000 jobs.

"I expect [Massachusetts] will continue to successfully implement this program and serve as a model for other States around the nation," wrote Congressman Oberstar in a letter to Governor Patrick. "Together, we are creating and sustaining family-wage jobs, contributing to our nation's long-term economic growth, and helping the United States recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression."

"I am very pleased that Massachusetts has put all of its Recovery Act waterworks funds to work to improve our water systems," said Congressman Edward Markey. "I have introduced a bill, HR 5320, to ensure that the funds for drinking water infrastructure are increased, and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee which I chair will be acting on that bill today."

"Stimulus funding only works when it is out on the street - creating jobs and getting important work done," said Congressman Mike Capuano. "I commend the Commonwealth for obligating its full share of State Revolving Funds, and for proceeding on so many essential water infrastructure projects around the state."

"Massachusetts is getting a bigger bang for its buck on federal Recovery funds for water and wastewater infrastructure than any other state in the country," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said. "By leveraging federal dollars 4.3 times with private bonds and additional state funding, the Commonwealth is in the midst of $770 million worth of projects - more than any other state. This remarkable achievement is creating thousands of jobs and contributing to the health and vitality of local communities across the state."

"Massachusetts is realizing major health and environmental benefits from this infusion of federal, state, and local capital investment; an expenditure that is also successfully employing thousands of engineering and construction workers across the state," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt. "This demonstrates in a very real way to those thousands of families, the two-fold value of infrastructure investment and environmental protection."