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Baltimore Could Get $200 Million To Repair City Infrastructure

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- Baltimore City could be getting $200 million to help pay for some much needed improvements to aging water and sewer infrastructure.

The money would come from a federal loan that only nine states, including Maryland have been invited to apply for.

If approved, it's money that could lessen the burden on people who are helping pay for costly repairs.

It's no secret the City's aging and at times crumbling infrastructure has been the source of many headaches.

The City's sewage system is more than 100 years old. It's often overwhelmed by heavy rains leading to gallons of contaminated water to flow into Maryland waterways.

The Department of Public Works says over the last 15 years the City has spent $900 million on sewer system repairs.

The Environmental Protection Agency has invited the City to apply for a federal $200 million loan to help continue work on fixing and upgrading city sewer and water lines.

The money is being made available through the EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

Which is exciting news for members of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"If we can improve the infrastructure in Baltimore City, it can improve both water quality locally and for the Bay," said Paul Smali of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

While all of those does sound promising, EPA officials say there are still some hurdles the City would need to clear before any of the money is guaranteed.

The City would still need to apply for the loan formally, pass a credit check and negotiate terms for the specific projects the money would go towards.

Many hope the City is approved for the loan to help continue improving water fronts like the Inner Harbor.

"We all want to have clean air and clean water," one man said.

"You have to keep your downtown clean so people want to come spend time in it. If it stinks or if it's dirty people don't want to hang out in it," said visitor Abby Cheesman.

If the loan is approved, the money can also be used to upgrade the City's water treatment and distribution operations.

Baltimore officially expressed interest in the loan back in April.

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