Investing in the Future

Investing in the Future
State Sen. Jim Ferlo

Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution guarantees the right of all Pennsylvanians to “pure water.”  Not only that, safe clean water is necessary for recreation activities and industry.  Pennsylvania has an abundant supply of water, so we must do what is necessary to protect, preserve and improve our water systems.

On November 4, General Election Day, voters will be asked to authorize bond funds to improve Pennsylvania’s drinking water and sewage treatment systems.

Pennsylvania’s aged water and sewer systems are in disrepair and in dire need of rehabilitation and refurbishment.  The approval of the ballot initiative will generate $400 million to reconstruct or replace dilapidated waste-water treatment facilities or obsolete water systems statewide.

These grants and loans should help communities begin projects without raising local taxes and fees.  The bond will not require any new tax or fee, nor will it require the increase of any existing tax to repay the $400 million.

In many communities, the federal government has mandated improvements leaving local governments with no choice.  Without the state’s help, local authorities would be forced to turn to water and sewer users to pay for the upgrades.  Local taxpayers would absorb all the costs.

The $400 million from the ballot initiative, combined with another $800 million earmarked from gaming funds to refurbish the water systems, will lessen or eliminate the need to raise local fees.

This is a good investment in our future.

As a member of the 30-member Sustainable Infrastructure Task Force convened by Gov. Edward G. Rendell, I participated in a process that estimated the necessary investment in statewide drinking water and wastewater systems. The numbers are staggering.  We will need to invest at least $36.5 billion over the next 20 years to maintain reliable service.  These bond funds give Pennsylvania a great start toward this future.

I urge voters to say YES to clean drinking water.  Say YES to clean water for swimming and fishing and other recreational activities.  Say YES to a continued investment in the health of our families, increased tourism and more quality jobs in Pennsylvania.

Not only will you be voting to ensure your family has safe, quality drinking water, you will also be supporting 12,000 new Pennsylvania jobs that could be created to make repairs and upgrades that are needed to strengthen our water and sewer systems and, eventually, our economy.

A YES vote is a vote to invest in Pennsylvania’s future.  Abundant water supplies in our state will give us a competitive advantage nationally if we make the proper investment. With clean drinking water, we create and maintain healthy families.

On Tuesday, November 4, General Election Day, please VOTE YES on the ballot question.