Mo. communities to get $266M for water projects

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of Missouri communities will be splitting $266 million for wastewater and drinking water improvements under a construction plan announced Monday by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Nixon announced the plan while touring work sites in Springfield and Liberty in suburban Kansas City. The construction money is to be split with $146 million coming from the federal stimulus package and $120 million from a state loan program.

So far, 35 cities and water districts have been awarded money for wastewater projects and 17 communities have received funds for drinking water construction. Nixon, a Democrat, said the money will fund important infrastructure improvements and put people to work.

"Too many Missourians are currently out of work. We want them back on the job as quickly as possible, and that's why we are pulsing these funds into communities with instructions to put them promptly to use," Nixon said in a written statement.

The economic affect of the additional construction projects is still being analyzed, and it is unknown how many jobs are likely to be developed.

Under the program, local governments will get a mixture of loans that must be repaid and grants that do not. The state's money is coming from a program administered by the Department of Natural Resources that offers communities reduced rate loans for wastewater and drinking water projects. Those loans are funded with money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and loan repayments and interest.

The largest awards in the program announced Monday were for wastewater projects. Columbia, which received the most money, is getting $67 million for a wastewater treatment plant. Blue Springs is getting $33.8 million, Kansas City is getting $23.9 million and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is getting $11 million.

Communities generally received less money for drinking water projects. The largest shares were to Drexel and the Clarence Cannon Water Commission, which each received $4.4 million.

Travis Ford, a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources, said the environmental agency evaluated communities' requests for money by examining factors such as reducing energy use and adopting innovative approaches.

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