More money for municipalities to fund sewer projects is the ultimate goal of a report that was released June 7. The report, paid for by MITA, highlights ways to encourage local communities to use available low interest loans from the state revolving fund to upgrade their sewer systems. As you may recall, AUC successfully lobbied for passage of Proposal 2 in 2002, which designated $1 billion in the state revolving fund for sewer repair and replacement. However, since 2002, only a small portion of the available funds have been put to use -- meaning a trend toward fewer sewer jobs than anticipated when Proposal 2 was approved by voters.
MITA is working hard to make sure that trend is reversed. The report provides a plan for government agencies and others involved to make it easier to obtain loans from the state reolving fund. Public Sector Consultants produced the report for a task force created by MITA in January. The group surveyed local officials to examine why they may be heistant to apply for funding. A lack of information, limited budgets and complicated regulations were some of the stumbling blocks listed by those who participated in the project.
The following key recommendations are part of the report:
• Improving education and outreach efforts
• Enhancing the State Revolving Fund and expanding eligibility
• Streamlining the administration process
• Increasing planning coordination
• Providing regulatory incentives
• Strengthening local funding option
MITA will continue to be at the forefront of the push to increase use of the low interest loans for sewer projects. Stay tuned for progress reports.