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Galt needs $116 million to update infrastructure

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Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 12:00 am

The city of Galt needs $115.8 million to bring its infrastructure up to optimum national standards by 2020.

The estimate comes from various consultants who have looked at the city's aging water, sewer and storm drainage systems.

Coupled with that is enhanced regulatory requirements, as well as aging roadways, city buildings and parks, according to Public Works Director Steven Winkler.

He studied the city's infrastructure in the same manner the American Society of Civil Engineers examined both the state's and nation's infrastructure, and presented a series of reports at Tuesday's Galt City Council meeting.

Infrastructure "report cards" are issued every four to six years as a benchmark of state and national concerns and progress being made to address the state of repair and needed maintenance of public transportation, refuse, water and wastewater, storm drainage, flood protection services and other infrastructure.

Mayor Marylou Powers wasn't surprised by the city's review.

"The whole United States infrastructure is so old; I've read before that we'll never catch up," she said.

A number of proactive steps for the city to meet the 2020 standards have already been taken, including developing master plans related to water, sewer and storm drainage in 2010 and adjusting utility rates last year. This year, the city is working on a sewer treatment facilities master plan and prioritizing deferred city buildings maintenance needs.

Powers pointed out that the city has stayed on top of street maintenance projects such as the large citywide slurry sealing performed last summer, but state mandates have made meeting water regulations harder, she said.

"It's neverending. We keep trying to keep on top of it with the money we have," Powers said, adding that the city will likely have to issue bonds to come close to meeting the 2020 goal.

Both she and Winkler agreed that Galt's annual infrastructure investment needs, per capita, are well below the national and statewide needs projections.

In its report card by ASCE, the nation received below-average marks in 11 of 16 categories and received an overall grade of D-plus.

The specific categories examined dams, schools and roads, among others. Each category was evaluated on the basis of capacity, condition, resilience, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, and public safety.

The nation's highest grade was a B-minus for solid waste.

It received a C-plus for rail and bridges, a C-minus for public parks and recreation, and a C for ports.

To improve the grade in each category, the country needs to invest $3.6 trillion over the next seven years.

Comparatively, the state's infrastructure received an overall C grade and needs to invest $65 billion by 2020, according to a similar ASCE review in 2012.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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