Maine’s public water systems have provided reliable access to drinking water and safe disposal of wastewater for decades.

Without funding, communities simply cannot afford to make the necessary repairs to these vital systems. Lack of investment in community water infrastructure poses a danger to the environment and threatens the safety of Maine’s water.

The water infrastructure bond that Gov. Paul LePage is sending to the voters, mentioned in the May 26 article “LePage vetoes $20 million state research bond,” will not just provide access to water and improve the environment, it also will create thousands of quality jobs at a time when our communities need them most.

Maine’s unemployment rate continues to hover around 8 percent with 58,000 people out of work. According to the National Utility Contractors Association, for every $1 billion spent on water infrastructure, between 20,003 and 26,669 jobs are created.

Fully addressing the Maine’s annual water funding shortfall would generate 3,018 employment opportunities, not only in the water sector, but throughout local economies that benefit from increased employment. Therefore, every dollar invested in infrastructure yields a $1.59 return. That could put 5 percent of unemployed people in the state back to work.

Water and sewer infrastructure jobs typically are filled locally, and investing now in these can generate solid economic growth and bring jobs into our communities — all good reasons why the people of Maine should vote for this bond.

Nisha Swinton

Maine Food & Water Watch

Portland


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