by Ben Nuelle
A water quality bill now moves to the Iowa Senate. A bill to provide water quality funding passed the Iowa House 65-33 Monday.
The legislation would provide $478 million over 13 years to water quality projects from a water metering tax and the gambling-funded state infrastructure account. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says this is a significant step forward.
“This is a good amount of money well-focused and thought out. [It] addresses some of the other proposals have had in the past. It does not compete with education dollars. Does not raise taxes but is able to make a solid multi-year commitment in this case 13 years for water quality.”
He says this is one stage.
“We hope the Iowa Senate takes this up quickly and moves forward with the issue. Certainly Governor Branstad both in the leadership in his original proposal and support for this bill have been very important. We appreciate Governor Branstad’s work and hope to be able to see this proposal move through the Senate very quickly.”
If the bill passes the Iowa Senate it would also provide for appropriations from the rebuild Iowa infrastructure fund, creating a water quality infrastructure fund. It would establish a water quality financing program, provide for cost-share programs for infrastructure on agricultural and urban land under the water quality initiative.