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Better Kentucky Plan includes $250M to improve water infrastructure

City Commissioners discuss sewer system infrastructure renovations.
City Commissioners discuss sewer system infrastructure renovations.(Source: WALB)
Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 4:33 PM CDT
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KENTUKCY (KFVS) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday, June 1, that a Better Kentucky Plan will help deliver clean drinking water and quality sewer systems across Kentucky.

It will also help the state build better schools, expand internet and bring 14,500 more jobs to Kentucky.

The plan’s $250 million Cleaner Water Program is the first program to accept applications since lawmakers reached a bi-partisan agreement at the close of the 2021 General Assembly.

“Quality drinking water and well-maintained sewer systems are fundamental to keep Kentuckians safe and to build a better Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “This funding boost will make a real difference in cities and counties across Kentucky while also creating more than 3,800 direct and indirect jobs. Today’s announcement is another win for Team Kentucky, and we are well on our way to leading in the post-COVID economy.”

Starting June 1, Water Resource coordinators, representing Kentucky’s 15 Area Development Districts (ADD) and Area Water Management Councils, may submit project profiles through the Water Resource Information System (WRIS) portal to indicate interest in funding from the Cleaner Water Program.

Eligible government agencies, such as city-owned water or sewer utilities, water commissions, water and sewer districts and counties, may work with a coordinator and council to submit a project.

There are 713 public drinking water and wastewater utilities in Kentucky.

“Normally, when we do these projects, the cost would end up on your water bill,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is a chance for us to upgrade our systems without raising costs on Kentuckians. It’s a real chance to be transformative.”

Funding will be distributed in three ways:

  • $150 million will be allocated based on each county’s proportion of the state’s population, with the exception of Jefferson County’s share, which is discounted by 50% based on its high per capita allocation from the federal act. A list of the allocations by county can be found here.
  • $50 million is available for grants to utilities to provide drinking water services to unserved, rural customers or to utilities under a federal consent decree. The KIA shall consider social, economic and environmental benefits in determining the allocations.
  • $49.9 million is available to supplement a project grant for a project with a cost in excess of a county’s allocation amount and other available grant sources. The social, economic and environmental benefits shall be considered in determining project allocations. KIA will receive $75,000 to administer the grant program.

Applications will be accepted until all funding is committed.

KIA will begin reviewing projects this summer and make awards throughout the year.

All grant awardees must obligate the funds by December 31, 2024.

Information about the Cleaner Water Program, as well as grants for broadband expansion, school facility upgrades and vocational education center renovations, can be found here.

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