Duckworth Touts Drinking Water Infrastructure Funding in Bipartisan Bill

The bipartisan infrastructure package signed Monday by President BidenJoe Biden Biden Reaffirms His Commitment To Taiwan’s ‘One China’ Policy In Call With Xi Biden Raises Human Rights With China’s Xi During Four-Hour Biden Meeting, Xi Holds ‘Candid’ Discussion Amid Highs tensions MORE contains a bill that simplifies funding for water infrastructure projects, a provision that its sponsor, Sen. Tammy duckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy Duckworth The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Appeals Court Delays Ruling on Trump Document; Biden To Meet Xi The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented By Facebook – Rising Prices Undermined Biden’s Agenda Military Veterans Are Essential To America’s Workforce MORE (D-Ill.), Hopes will mean “a difference that is made in people’s lives every day.”

In an interview with The Hill Tuesday, Duckworth called the measure in question, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, “the backbone of all water infrastructure in this larger bill.” The provision includes $ 15 billion in direct payments to the State Drinking Water Revolving Fund for Lead Service Line Replacement, which Duckworth told The Hill is “historic.”

Grant funds allocated for similar purposes in the past were never replenished after they were exhausted, Duckworth said, and as a result, “You have all these municipalities, all these states, with water projects, but because that fund was never authorized to a higher level, you never have enough money to finance all the projects. “

The direct payments on the bill, Duckworth added, will mean “you’ll see a difference in people’s lives every day” as early as early 2022. He pointed to communities like Cahokia Heights, Ill., The troubled site of ongoing sewerage to which you have already committed $ 30 million. “The local community has been asking for help, there is a grant application there, which will be funded and they will see that the project moves immediately,” he said.

Duckworth, the first woman in a wheelchair elected to Congress, noted that correcting gaps in the nation’s water infrastructure is also vital to disability justice.

“You are talking about communities that in many cases are already vulnerable to health problems,” he said. “With the sewage piece, that often becomes an environmental justice issue … if you live in an environmental justice community, your municipality has never been able to raise the money to do this.”

“Anything that negatively affects people’s health is exponentially more harmful to members of the disability community,” he added. “Either by water, either by access to trains, or by the ability to move freely throughout our infrastructure.”

Biden himself highlighted the bill’s provisions that replace all lead pipes in the country in a signing ceremony Monday. Lead contamination of drinking water has become a more visible environmental problem in recent years due to the aftermath of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which exposed some 99,000 residents to lead. A Michigan judge approved a $ 626 million settlement in the case last week.

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