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Treasurer says sewer work could ‘push people into poverty’

February 7, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s state treasurer says a planned sewer project could “push thousands of people into poverty” over higher sewer rates.

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner tells WPRI-TV the final phase of the Combined Sewer Overflow Abatement Project is project to cost $779 million.

Narragansett Bay Commission documents show the average sewer bill will rise 23 percent to help pay for the project, from $480 a year in 2016 to $588 by 2025.

Commission Executive Director Laurie Horridge says they are looking for ways to mitigate costs for ratepayers, including applying for a $251 million low-interest federal loan.

Magaziner says he filed a motion with the state Public Utilities to review the rate proposal. He says he hopes the two agencies can develop a plan to lower rates by May or June.

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