Massachusetts Considers Major Water Infrastructure Bill

May 2014, Vol. 69 No. 5

As reported in Water Online, the Massachusetts Senate recently cleared a major water infrastructure bill.

The bill targets government funding shortfalls, which have plagued the water sector in Massachusetts for years. The state is facing a gap of $10.2 billion over the next two decades when it comes to drinking water infrastructure, and $11.2 billion for wastewater infrastructure, according to an editorial by Senate President Terry Murray.

The legislation, which now heads to the House, aims to make up some of the gap.

It “authorizes low-interest loans for water infrastructure projects and establishes criteria for the loan process. It requires the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust — the new name for the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust — to create a sliding scale interest rate, from 0 to 2 percent on loans for qualifying projects,” according to WBJournal.

“The bill also significantly expands the spending capacity of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, formerly the Water Pollution Abatement Trust, with an increase from $88 million to $138 million and imposes a spending floor of 80 percent. To allow for more flexibility, the bill creates a sliding scale interest rate from 0 to 2 percent and establishes a principal forgiveness program for qualifying projects,” the Daily Times Chronicle reported.