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Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency - Water Quality Management Bonds, Question 2 (2000)

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Rhode Island Question 2, also known as Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency - Water Quality Management Bonds ($60,000,000), was on the November 7, 2000 election ballot in Rhode Island. Question 2 was a legislatively-referred bond issue. It passed with 75% of voters in favor.

Voter guide

The following language appeared in the Rhode Island Voter Information Handbook:[1]

Summary from the Voter Information Handbook: Approval and issuance of these bonds will provide funds to the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency which will be leveraged with federal and state grants (1) to provide loans at a subsidized rate of zero percent to municipalities, governmental entities and non-governmental entities for water pollution abatement projects and (2) to provide subsidized interest rate loans to water systems for drinking water projects.

How much money will be borrowed? $60,000,000

How will the money be spent?

$60,000,000 will be used for projects to improve the State's water quality and shall be deposited by the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency in one or more of its revolving loan funds which, when leveraged with federal and state capitalization grants, will provide funding to municipalities, governmental entities and non-governmental entities for water pollution abatement projects and drinking water projects.

The proceeds of the bonds will be invested in one or more of the State's revolving funds administered by the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency. A portion of the bond proceeds and investment income thereon will create a fund that will be used to achieve a "0%" interest rate for eligible water pollution abatement projects. The remaining bond proceeds, together with investment income thereon, will be used to make low-interest subsidized loans for drinking water projects. The Agency leverages funds from the federal government to increase the amount of money to be used for wastewater pollution abatement projects and drinking water projects.

Not less than $70,000,000 in leveraged funds will be allocated for loans at a subsidized rate of zero percent to the Narragansett Bay Commission to fund costs associated with combined sewage overflow projects. Not more than $3,000,000 of the bond proceeds shall be allocated to the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency to provide state matching funds to obtain federal capitalization grants available to the State, enabling the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency to provide subsidized interest rate loans to community water systems, both privately and publicly owned, and non-profit non-community water systems for drinking water projects. The Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency will use the remainder of the bond proceeds to provide loans at a subsidized rate of zero percent to fund water pollution abatement projects pursuant to chapter 46-12.2 of the Rhode Island General Laws, including, but not limited to, wastewater treatment facilities; sludge improvement projects; the construction of sewers to relieve areas that should no longer be served by septic systems; planning/feasibility studies to support water quality restoration projects, including stormwater treatment, nutrient reduction, and other similar water pollution abatement projects; restoration of aquatic habitats and implementation of stormwater treatment and other nonpoint source water pollution abatement projects.

"Nutrient reduction" is a treatment process which reduces the concentration of nitrogen and/or phosphorus in the effluent discharge of wastewater treatment facilities. An example of a "nonpoint source" of water pollution is drainage from roadways which allows contaminants to flow into Narragansett Bay during rainstorms.

Project Timetable: The program to furnish funding for wastewater abatement projects is expected to commence in July, 2001, with actual improvements by municipalities, governmental and non-governmental entities expected to commence in October, 2001 and to be completed by October, 2004.

The program to furnish funding for drinking water projects is expected to commence in July, 2001, with actual improvements by community water systems and non-profit non-community water systems expected to commence in October, 2001 and be completed by October, 2004.

The Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency estimates the useful life of the water pollution abatement projects to be between 15-20 years and the useful life of drinking water projects to be between 15-20 years, depending on the type of improvements made.

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