We have a lot of old water infrastructure, so what do we do about it?

Mar 2, 2017
Originally published on March 2, 2017 12:00 pm

President Trump called for a trillion dollar investment in infrastructure this week in his address to Congress.

The Great Lakes Commission has ideas for where some of the money should go. The Commission is an interstate compact agency that represents Great Lakes states. The agency released recommendations today for rebuilding our water infrastructure.

Matt Doss is the Great Lakes Commission's policy director.

"Really, we have under-invested in our water infrastructure in this region and the country as a whole for a long time. As a result, we have a huge backlog in needs to upgrade and maintain both drinking water, wastewater and stormwater," he says.

He notes that the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated it'll cost $400 billion through 2030 to maintain our nation’s drinking water system. EPA estimates $100 billion is needed in the eight Great Lakes states alone.

"It’s largely because we have a lot of older cities and many of these cities have old infrastructure. Large cities like Detroit and Chicago, and Milwaukee and Cleveland and Buffalo," he says.

So where will this money come from? Doss says that's what everyone is trying to figure out.

“This is an expensive challenge and we’d like to see federal investments, but there’s probably also a role for private investment. But there’s a lot of work that needs to be done and that’s a big question in Washington about how we’re going to pay for this," he says.

You can listen to our interview with Matt Doss above.

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