According to a federal study, municipalities nationwide need more than $300 billion worth of upgrades to water and sewer systems over the next 20 years, including projects in our local counties. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says $29.7 billion worth of improvements is needed in New York state.
The data should come as no surprise. Localities have been lamenting the poor condition of infrastructure for years. Throughout our region, some sewer and water pipes are decades old and in need of replacement. The cost, however, makes many projects prohibitive, and localities end up doing patchwork repairs to get by.
Schumer points out an estimated $7.2 billion in sewer and water system repairs are needed in upstate New York.
Local counties need millions of dollars in water and sewer system repairs. According to data from Schumer's office, Fulton County needs $28.7 million for eight projects, Montgomery County needs $82.9 million for five projects, and Hamilton County needs $4.7 million for three projects.
Schumer's office cites needed projects in Caroga, Perth, Northampton, Mayfield, the town of Johnstown, the city and town of Amsterdam, Mohawk, the town of Florida, Speculator and Lake Pleasant. The cities of Gloversville and Johnstown have talked about the need for infrastructure work as well.
The federal and state governments cannot ignore the issue. Localities cannot afford to handle the costs on their own. The federal government, while bloated and lacking in spending restraint, nonetheless provides funding for necessary and worthwhile projects; infrastructure is one of them. Without dependable water and sewer services, industrial, commercial and residential growth suffers, affecting the economy and quality of life.
Schumer is fighting funding cuts for water and sewer repairs. We support efforts to maintain federal and state funding for these projects.