Coalition Seeks Federal Funds for Cape Cod Wastewater Infrastructure
April 14, 2021 Government & Community Affairs
A coalition of Cape Cod organizations has reached out to members of Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation in an effort to secure funding for Cape Cod wastewater infrastructure projects in the federal infrastructure bill under consideration by Congress.
In a letter to U.S. Rep. William Keating and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS®, and Housing Assistance Corporation made a request to the elected officials to support the inclusion of $1 billion for wastewater infrastructure in the American Jobs Plan, the infrastructure legislation filed by President Joseph Biden.
The sought-after funding would provide the federal government’s share of the anticipated costs of providing wastewater infrastructure to the Cape Cod region. The Barnstable County 208 water quality plan, accepted and endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is framed around an understanding that the cost of infrastructure is a responsibility shared by local, state and federal governments. The federally approved plan assigns 50 percent of the overall $4 billion cost for wastewater infrastructure to the Cape’s municipalities and 25 percent each to the state and federal governments.
“As the leaders of four organizations with very different missions, we are united by a recognition of the importance of clean water to everything on Cape Cod,” stated the letter. “We see investment in modern wastewater infrastructure as the most important factor in making progress not just in environmental quality but also to preserve our economy and to unlock the potential for housing production in village centers serviced by infrastructure.”
The letter went on to say, “To protect our environment, to maintain the region’s economic value and to continue to grow housing on this finite peninsula, we need to build wastewater infrastructure. It is crucial that we ensure these assets are not crippled by a crisis that can be addressed and, through cooperative management, repaired.”
“The local and state governments are fulfilling their commitments to the 208 plan,” said Wendy Northcross, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer. “Now we need the federal government to step up for the final piece of the puzzle.”
“Investing in wastewater infrastructure on Cape Cod aligns with what the administration has said their priorities are: protecting the environment, expanding housing affordability, and creating a sustainable future. The federal government needs to remember their commitment in this regard,” said Ryan Castle, chief executive officer of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS®.
“The trifecta of critical issues—a year-round housing shortage, the demands of a vibrant tourist economy, and the responsibility to protect our environment—are connected by the need for wastewater infrastructure,” said Alisa Magnotta, Housing Assistance Corporation’s chief executive officer. “Using the same dollar to fund a solution that solves for multiple problems is a win-win and a prudent use of tax-payer dollars.”
“Water quality is everything to Cape Cod,” said Andrew Gottlieb, executive director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. “The federal government has an obligation to support this investment in the region.”