At Thursday’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee meeting on Energy and Natural Resources, Kentucky Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Ashli Watts testified on the need for continued investment in Kentucky’s water infrastructure system.
Kentucky American Water President and Kentucky Chamber Board member Nick Rowe welcomed the legislators and guests to their facility where the meeting was held and gave them an overview of the company and their work and challenges in the state.
Highlighting the Kentucky Chamber report, “A Citizen’s Guide to Infrastructure,” which was released in May 2017 in connection National Infrastructure Week, Watts told the committee the Chamber wanted to take a comprehensive look at infrastructure, which is critical to business and economic development. Watts said that many times when we think of infrastructure we think of roads and bridges, but infrastructure encompasses much more, including drinking water and wastewater.
Watts told the committee that due to aging water infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineer’s report card estimates that Kentucky has $6.2 billion in drinking water needs and an additional $6.14 billion on wastewater needs.
With local and state governments doing more with less, Watts said that looking ahead, to ensure that Kentucky properly improves its water infrastructure system, there needs to be creativity in terms of funding. Kentucky can no longer rely on traditional state and federal funding. Watts said that the Chamber encourages the aggressive us of public-private partnerships and solicit private partners who can assist in the financing, construction and operation of an infrastructure project.