Great Lakes Commission: Billions needed for water upgrades

Posted at 11:06 AM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 11:06:39-05

A Great Lakes organization wants governments in the U.S. and Canada to fund massive infrastructure upgrades to provide safe drinking water and support waterborne freight transport.

The Great Lakes Commission says drinking water crises in Toledo, Ohio, and Flint, Michigan, show how systems have deteriorated.

Atop the commission's wish list is $100 billion to fix drinking water pipes, $73 billion for wastewater treatment and $5 billion to manage stormwater.

With the federal budget tight, the commission recommends innovative financing tools, such as public-private partnerships.

Other priorities include building another lock for large ships at the Soo Locks complex in Michigan and continued federal funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Commission Director Tim Eder says failure to maintain infrastructure squanders the competitive advantage that the region's abundant fresh water provides.