Sewer projects benefit from federal, state fundingResidents in Billings Park and South Superior could get relief from flooded basements soon with the help of federal recovery dollars.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Residents in Billings Park and South Superior could get relief from flooded basements soon with the help of federal recovery dollars.
Gov. Jim Doyle announced Monday the city of Superior will receive nearly $6.5 million, half in federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act-funded grants that won’t have to be repaid, to construct two stormwater sewer systems.
“I am happy to announce major investments in the wastewater system that will create local jobs and benefit local water infrastructure needs,” Doyle said in a prepared statement issued Monday. “These important water projects in Superior made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will help revitalize local economies and benefit future generations. I thank Congressman (Dave) Obey for his work to help secure these funds that will make lasting improvements to our state.”
Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was an architect of the plan to shore up the nation’s economy through reinvestment.
“Over much opposition, we included strong funding for projects like this because communities can’t grow and they can’t provide decent job opportunities without strong community infrastructure such as sewer and water,” Obey said. “I’m pleased that we are going to be able to help these communities and ease the squeeze on local property taxpayers at the same time.”
The congressman said Billings Park has had problems with sewer backups for a number of years, and the funding should help to counteract that and will put people to work.
State Rep. Nick Milroy, D-Superior, a former city councilor representing a portion of Billings Park said he was well aware of the problems many neighborhoods faced when sewers overflowed into people’s basement. He said the funding would go a long way to improving the situation for his neighbors.
A range of projects were being announced statewide Monday, Obey said.
Statewide, about $206 million is allocated for water infrastructure projects, according to the governor. Half the funding comes from recovery act grants. The U.S. EPA awarded $103 million in recovery funds to Wisconsin. The other half of the funding for the projects will be provided as a low-interest loan from the state Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund.
“I think what this demonstrates is that the naysayers who say the money’s not getting out in the field are simply starting to complain about the game at the end of the second inning,” Obey said.
State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said projects like these simply wouldn’t be affordable without the federal stimulus money. He said a number of other communities, like Solon Springs will also benefit because they move up the list.
Solon Springs, which is facing a $4 million sewer project to bring its system into compliance with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources regulations, wasn’t eligible for the grant funding through the recovery act. However, Solon Springs will benefit from low-interest loans through the state’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund made available because of stimulus funding.
“These funds are absolutely critical for necessary infrastructure improvements that protect homeowners and assist in the community’s growth. These are indeed a welcome shot in the arm,” Jauch said.