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HANSEN TO EXPLAIN INFRASTRUCTURE ACT PROVISIONS

Dec. 4, 2003 – Sen. Emmett Hansen II will shed some light on his recently enacted bill to fund street lighting, potable water distribution and road repairs at Sunday's monthly meeting of the Northside Civic Organization.
The meeting is set for 1 p.m. at Palms Court Harborview Hotel. It's open to the public.
Hansen fought through two Legislatures to get the measure enacted. On Sept. 5, in a unanimous override of Gov. Charles Turnbull's second veto of the proposal, the 25th Legislature voted the Infrastructure Maintenance Act of 2003 into law.
The bill, slightly altered from an earlier version, calls for 6 percent of property tax revenues to be divided equally into funds for street lighting, potable water distribution and road maintenance, with separate funds to be set up for St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John and Water Island. In other words, 2 percent of the property taxes from each island would go into each of the three infrastructure funds for that particular island.
The original measure had called for allocating 15 percent of the tax revenues for those purposes.
Hansen said prior to the veto override that the governor's approach to addressing utility problems had been ineffective. "We've tried for five years the governor's way, and it hasn't worked," he said then. "Every time we come up with an innovative way to change things, they reject it."
On Sunday, Hansen will cover ramifications of the bill — for example, Alberto Bruno-Vega, Water and Power Authority executive director, has said that once the measure is implemented, the surcharge consumers now pay WAPA for street lighting will be eliminated.
Hansen has said the funds are to be kept in a "lockbox," and has vowed that if the Office of Management and Budget doesn't maintain these funds, "we will take the government to court. We will sue the government and individuals personally."
For more information, call Brian Grimshaw at 777-9801, or send an e-mail to Jason Budsan.

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