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EPA willing to forgive $20.7 million in debt owed by city of Flint

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Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Flint borrowed more than $20 million over the years to fix its water system.

The city of Flint could soon get some relief from loans it took out years ago to fix its broken water system.  

Over the years, Flint borrowed more than $20 million from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. But the cash-strapped city has been struggling to pay interest on the loans.    

With its water system still broken, and the recovery from the city’s lead tainted tap water crisis ongoing, the federal Environmental Protection Agency says it’s ready to forgive the debt.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said in a press release that "forgiving Flint’s past debt will better protect public health and reduce the costs associated with maintaining the city’s water system over time.”

State officials are working to finalize the process and issue the official debt forgiveness in the near future.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says forgiving past loans will allow the city to spend money on “priority infrastructure needs.”

The EPA's willingness to forgive the loans is being cheered as good news at Flint city hall. 

"We have come a long way, but there is still much more work that needs to be done. With help and support like this from federal, state, as well as local entities, Flint will indeed bounce back," said Mayor Karen Weaver.  

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) pointed out the Flint aid package passed last year by Congress, and signed by President Obama, allowed for this kind of financial relief to the city.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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