11/01/2010

Proposed Water Infrastructure Finance Commission Report

Proposed Water Infrastructure Finance Commission Report

As amended June 15, 2010

Executive Summary

Document the Water Infrastructure Needs of the Commonwealth

  • Time frame: next 25 years
  • How do we best describe the needs?

1.       Number, type of projects that are being built

1.       without state assistance

2.       with state assistance

3.       role of federal assistance

2.       Projects that are unfunded and not built

  • Trends in water and wastewater infrastructure

1.       What factors are driving new trends?

2.       Role of state and federal clean water and drinking water standards in driving the need for infrastructure

  • EPA/DEP estimates

1.       How the estimates are developed

2.       Do they reflect a full estimate of the need?

3.       Do funding sources drive the demand for projects, or types of projects?

Are there ways to reduce the need for water infrastructure investment?

  • Encouraging Green Building Practices
  • Regional or district water treatment plans
  • Regulations for storm water management
  • Title V
  • Private wells
  • Best management practices
  • Consumer behavior/trends
  • Smart Grid Technologies
  • Regulatory framework

Examine existing sources of funding for water and waste water infrastructure

  • Federal Programs
    • EPA
    • ARRA
    • USDA
    • others
  • State Programs
    • SRF
    • WPAT
    • DHCD MORE Grants
    • others
  • Local Programs
    • Local borrowing
    • Enterprise funds
    • Fee-based
    • others
  • Role of broad based taxes
  • Role of product-specific taxes

Trends and issues at local, state, and federal level

Examine threats posed by infrastructure failure

  • examine the potential threats

1.       public health

2.       public safety

3.       environmental health

4.       economic loss

Financial implications of infrastructure situation

  • How to make limited dollars go the furthest?

1.       Will prioritizing certain investments in critical water, wastewater, storm water and water conservation infrastructure make a difference?

2.       Sunk costs

3.       Priority projects – are we choosing the right approaches?

4.       technical and financial feasibility of sustaining, integrating and expanding public water systems, conservation and efficiency programs, wastewater systems and storm water systems of municipalities and the commonwealth, including regional or district systems.

5.       provide mechanisms for improvements in the handling and management of water programs;

6.       examine the finances of the various municipalities and regional water districts, including state and federal aid levels,

Consider possible solutions and approaches

These have been suggested:

  • examine and develop recommendations on ways in which the commonwealth and its municipalities may meet operation and maintenance and capital improvement and reconstruction needs for the next 25 years
  • examine the expanded use of full accounting systems and enterprise funding,
  • asset management systems and
  • best management practices,
  • compliance with chapter 21G of the General Laws (water management act)
  • role of design-build
  • changes to SRF? (interest rates, requirements of communities)
  • make recommendations for improvements to financial policies and procedures.
  • Capital planning
  • Water banking revolving fund
  • Bottle bill
  • Energy efficiencies
  • Water pricing – reflect true cost of water – conservation pricing
  • Role of water rate relief fund
  • Storm water utilities
  • Regional solutions
  • Water reuse
  • Regulation to reduce water demand; water use regulations
  • Low impact design
  • Use of betterments and liens
  • identify areas where cost savings can be achieved across water agencies by consolidation, coordination and reorganization.
  • recommendations regarding debt reduction,
  • enhancing existing sources of revenues,
  • developing new sources of revenues,
  • establishing new incentives for public-private partnerships in the development of real property resources and funding resources;
  • examine the technical and financial feasibility of sustaining, integrating and expanding public water systems, conservation and efficiency programs, wastewater systems and storm water systems of municipalities and the commonwealth, including regional or district systems.

Recommendations:

  • Suggest priorities for state and federal programs,

1.       Regulatory relief, where appropriate

2.       Grant programs

3.       Requirements of existing programs

  • identify areas where cost savings can be achieved across water agencies by consolidation, coordination and reorganization
  • funding or finance measures the commonwealth or municipalities may pursue to satisfy any unmet funding needs identified by the commission.
  • Role of interagency agreements, inter-municipal agreements
  • fair and equitable means of financing water infrastructure investments through taxes, fees, user charges or other sources.
  • Recommend new approaches and solutions from list above, if appropriate
  • Policy tools
  • Regulatory framework
  • Bond bills
  • Regular update of this report
  • engaging the state to encourage the federal government in meeting critical needs:

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