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Politics & Government

Rep. Dom Costa Wants Additional State Oversight For PWSA, Peduto Says It's A Bad Idea

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA
Rep. Dom Costa speaking at a press conference on March 27, 2017.

A new measure from state Rep. Dom Costa of Pittsburgh would add extra state control over the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The struggling PWSA has dealt with many financial challenges over the years, and Costa says there should be an oversight committee in place to approve budgets. He's proposing a system similar to Act 47, which has overseen the city's finances for 14 years.

But Mayor Bill Peduto says he's concerned such a move could lead to privatization.

"The idea of Harrisburg controlling Pittsburgh's water is something I won't accept," Peduto said. "We have said from the beginning that we're not looking to privatize our water, that is a commitment we've made. If it goes to Harrisburg, that's off the table and Harrisburg could simply sell the PWSA to the highest bidder."

Peduto says he's asked Costa to delay submitting the legislation until the latest report on PWSA from a restructuring consultant is finalized.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Councilwoman Deb Gross has said the idea of a state receivership for PWSA is concerning. Gross is on the PWSA Board of Directors.

The state House voted yesterday to give the state Public Utility Commission oversight of PWSA, which is less rigorous than the full state receivership that Costa is proposing.