|Lobbyists Oppose Water
WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush's
proposed $3.5 billion homeland security budget for 2003 will sharply reduce water
infrastructure maintenance, among other municipal services, in many US cities, a lobbying
Carol Kocheisen, principal legislative counsel for the National League of
Cities (NLC), which represents 18,000 cities that serve 225 million Americans, said
President Bush wants to eliminate the more than $349 million earmarked by Congress for
various US water projects.
Kocheisen said US presidents have tried to deny Congress funds during each
proposed budget and have always failed. During last year's budget, more than 150 projects
could have been affected by this possible cut, according to Kocheisen.
"We all recognize the importance of homeland security and a strong
economy for America," said NLC President Karen Anderson, who is also the mayor of
Minnetonka, MN. "However, we should not pursue those goals at the expense of programs
for cities and towns that make our homeland safe, healthy and strong. We cannot pursue
security and tax cuts at the expense of safety and quality of life."
A debate about how much money the federal government should provide to
renovate the nation's aging water and wastewater infrastructure - and what form the
funding should take - has been waged long and hard by different sectors of the industry.
The issue is still being discussed in Congress and will be the subject of upcoming
- Ted Montuori, WaterTechOnline Assistant Managing Editor