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Competition Will Save Taxpayer Dollars as Ohio Replacing Aging Water & Sewer Lines

Oct 12, 2017

Columbus, OH – Today, The Buckeye Institute released its latest policy brief, Competition Saves Taxpayer Money on Water and Sewer Line Repair, looking at the importance of open bidding for water and sewer lines.

“Competition is the bedrock of free markets and forces companies to make better products and offer them for lower prices,” said Daniel J. Dew, the paper’s author and legal fellow at The Buckeye Institute. “When localities, or any government entity, spend taxpayer dollars they should be required to use those dollars prudently and ensure they get the best product at the best price. In many communities, this is not happening and localities are spending more than is necessary on water and sewer infrastructure. To ensure this doesn’t continue and to protect taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse, localities should implement an open bid process and consider all water and sewer materials that are deemed safe.”

Ohio has aging water and sewer systems that are constantly in need of repair and many need to be replaced. Unfortunately, some localities are limiting competition by requiring the pipes be made of a more expensive material, when it would be in taxpayer’s interest to consider all materials that are deemed safe. When governments impose regulations and ordinances that give any business or industry a competitive advantage, they negate the market incentives for industries to lower costs and provide better products.

A recent study found that Columbus, Ohio, which does not have an open bid process and mandates that only ductile iron be used for water and sewer replacement, paid nearly $100,000 more per mile of pipe than nearby Delaware County which does have an open bidding process.

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