Letters to the Editor

Kim H. Colson: Connect NC would provide $309M for water projects

Residents of North’s Carolina’s larger cities may take for granted the clean water that comes out of their taps and the infrastructure that delivers it, but many small and medium-sized towns struggle daily to provide those basic necessities.

Towns would receive much-needed funding to improve their deteriorating water and sewer systems through the Connect NC bond proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory. More than $309 million dedicated to water and sewer system projects would help communities who otherwise could not afford to pay for long overdue repairs, maintenance and modernization.

Clean water and reliable infrastructure are essential to safeguarding the environment, protecting public health and making every North Carolina community economically competitive.

The infrastructure challenge is particularly difficult in rural areas where many water and sewer systems were built more than 50 years ago. Many towns have difficulty finding funds for critical improvements to water and sewer facilities. Sudden breakdowns of water or sewer systems can interrupt daily life and are a less-than-welcoming sign for prospective job-creating businesses.

Of the $309.5 million included in the Connect NC bond proposed by McCrory, $100 million would fund grant projects that small and medium-sized towns simply can’t afford today. The remaining $209.5 million would be used for low-interest loans for water and sewer improvement projects. When the loans are paid back, the money will be loaned again to other water and sewer systems across the state, a process that can be repeated.

It is estimated that over the next 20 years, the $209.5 million will pay for more than $450 million in water and sewer projects.

The funding provided by the Connect NC bond referendum would help our small towns meet their infrastructure challenges, attract businesses and improve quality of life for residents.

Kim H. Colson

Director, Division of Water Infrastructure

Raleigh

The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the issue.

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