Panel: Billions needed for water upgrades

ANN ARBOR (AP) — A Great Lakes organization wants governments in the U.S. and Canada to fund infrastructure upgrades to provide safe drinking water and support waterborne freight transport.

The Great Lakes Commission says drinking water crises in Flint and Toledo, Ohio show how systems have deteriorated.

Atop the commission’s wish list is $100 billion to fix drinking water pipes, $73 billion for wastewater treatment and $5 billion to manage stormwater.

With the federal budget tight, the commission recommends innovative financing tools, such as public-private partnerships.

Commission Director Tim Eder says failure to maintain infrastructure squanders the competitive advantage that the region’s abundant fresh water provides.