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Water on the ballot

Friday, October 24th, 2008

On the November fourth ballot, Pennsylvania voters will have to make more decisions other than electing lawmakers and the next president. State officials are asking voters to approve a $400 million dollar spending measure to upgrade the state’s water and sewer systems.

Photo: Robert Lawton


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Advocates for the environment, farms, and housing development have joined Pennsylvania’s environmental officials in pushing a referendum to upgrade water and sewer systems across the state. Brady Russell at Clean Water Action says 100 year-old infrastructure has plagued residents with flooding during storms.

Russell: Probably some of your listeners here in Philadelphia who have had sewage back up in their basements, which happens all the time here in Philadelphia, are probably thinking, whatever takes, so long as like my basement never gets filled with raw sewage again.

If the referendum passes, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority would award grants to municipalities that apply for funding. Tony Phyrillas, a conservative political columnist in Montgomery County, says that with the current economic crisis, the state should not be borrowing such large amounts of money.

Phyrillas: The money can come from existing state revenues and we don’t need to go deeper into debt to fund these projects. if they’re that important the money can be found from existing state revenues.

Lawmakers in Harrisburg already passed a bill this year that would provide $800 million dollars for upgrades to the water and sewer infrastructure.

One Comment

  • BradyDale says:

    If Phyrillas wants to couch this issue in the current economic crisis, then this is a no-brainer. We SHOULD spend the money on infrastructure upgrades. In the latest issue of THE ECONOMIST they explore the fact that each of the countries that experienced major economic downturns in the last twenty years only got out of it when the government started spending lots of money. That’s how we got out of our Depression. That’s how Japan finally got out of its long, long downturn.

    Friedman is fine in good times, but only Keynes can get you out of trouble in bad times.

    Now is a great time to spend lots and lots of money upgrading our sewage lines, gas pipes, roads, bridges and even our outdated electricity grid. It’s that kind of spending that will get the economy moving again and, incidentally, give the US the stable, high capacity undergirding it needs to give birth to even more and better business.

    Phyrillas is way off on this point.

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