Budget panel OKs borrowing for water projects

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Legislature's budget-writing committee has overwhelmingly approved Gov. Tony Evers' proposal to authorize more borrowing for clean water projects.

Evers' state budget calls for increasing the clean water program's borrowing authority by $13.5 million and the safe drinking water loan program's borrowing authority by $3.6 million over the biennium.

The clean water fund program provides low-interest loans to municipalities for planning, building or replacing wastewater treatment facility; reducing nonpoint pollution; or reducing storm water runoff.

The safe drinking water program provides financial assistance to municipalities for designing, building or modifying public water systems.

The Joint Finance Committee took up the proposal Tuesday. Democrats on the panel took the opportunity to complain that Republicans erased another Evers' proposal last week to authorize $40 million in bonding to replace lead pipes around the state.

In the end the committee approved the clean water borrowing 14-0.