State funding for Richmond sewer project stripped out of budget deal
‘Everybody doesn’t get everything they want’
Earlier proposals to put an additional $100 million in state funds toward upgrades to Richmond’s combined sewer overflow system got edged out of this year’s budget deal to fund other initiatives, top budget negotiators said Wednesday.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin as well as the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and Democratic-controlled Senate all included the funding in their budget proposals this winter and spring.
Richmond needs roughly $1 billion to complete a $1.3 billion project to upgrade its 100-year-old system, which filters stormwater and sewage through the same pipes. While the system functions effectively during dry weather, heavy rainfalls cause sewage to overflow directly into the James River.
State law requires the city to separate out its stormwater and sewage systems by 2035. Smaller-scale but still expensive separation projects have occurred in Lynchburg and are ongoing in Alexandria, which must complete its work by 2025.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Del. Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, said in an interview with the Mercury that Richmond’s CSO project has already received $100 million in the 2022 biennial budget, while Alexandria and Lynchburg’s projects received $40 million and $25 million, respectively.
In the current budget deal, “we wanted to put more into education, things like that,” Knight said. “Everybody doesn’t get everything they want.”
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