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Published on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Senate capital budget released

The Senate released and heard their capital budget proposal Wednesday, April 8. While there are a few concerns, the proposal does a lot of good for cities. For a comprehensive look, please see the updated AWC matrix on the various budget proposals.

The most confusing aspect of the budget was how the Senate handled the Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) loan list. Instead of funding loans, the proposal funded a list of local government infrastructure grants. This list substantially overlaps with the Governor’s loan list and includes other local government projects as well. The rest of the loan list is either funded through toxic clean-up projects or referred to one of the state revolving funds. The state revolving funds received an increased appropriation to accommodate those projects. Here is a link to the PWTF list and how each project was handled.

They also included $140 million in bond proceeds to backfill the funds swept from the PWTF so current projects are not canceled. AWC is concerned whether this is sufficient to backfill the fund. The larger question is what this grants instead of loans approach means for the future of the PWTF.

The Senate proposal included more funds for toxic clean-ups and the Centennial Clean Water Grant program than the House. The Housing Trust Fund in both the Senate and House is comparable. A disappointment is that the stormwater grants are about half of the House proposal.

While the House and Senate take very different approaches, cities fared well in both. In the coming weeks we should see a final negotiated proposal.

Categories: Infrastructure
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