Monday, March 11, 2024

Senate passes Bullard bill to fund local water, wastewater improvements

Senate passes Bullard bill to fund local water, wastewater improvements

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 11th) – The Oklahoma Senate on Monday passed a bill from Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, that would earmark $125 million for much-needed water and wastewater infrastructure projects in localities across the state.

Senate Bill 1331 directs the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to establish a program to provide loans to municipalities and rural water districts seeking matching funds for water or wastewater improvement projects. The state would provide $125 million in initial funding for the program.

Half of the funds would be reserved for approved projects in municipalities or counties with less than 30,000 people. The remaining funds would be allocated to mid-sized municipalities or those with more than 400,000 people. 

Interest from the loans will go back into the Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Investment Revolving Fund, which will help the fund grow, Bullard said.

“Leveraging our tax dollars in this manner makes them go further for crucial infrastructure projects,” Bullard said. “These water and wastewater projects are essential for Oklahoma residents, and improving our aging water infrastructure can also serve as an economic driver to recruit more businesses to the state.”

Bullard said Oklahoma counties and municipalities collectively have more than $17 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure needs.

“This is a long-term solution to address the needs of many localities across Oklahoma,” Bullard said. “Their struggle to fund critical water and wastewater infrastructure projects is real and approaching dangerous levels.”

SB 1331 is now eligible to be heard in the House.


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