Bipartisan lawmakers introduce $35 billion water infrastructure bill
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that seeks to give states more money to address aging water infrastructure, putting funds toward reducing lead levels and projects to address the impacts of climate change.
The legislation, put forth by three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, offers $35 billion for water resources.
It comes in addition to the $3 trillion package that the White House is working on, which would reportedly include $400 billion for climate-related measures.
The water bill’s bipartisan backing could mean it has a decent shot of gaining the 60 Senate votes necessary to bypass the filibuster and eventually become law.
“From permanent brain damage from drinking water contaminated with lead, to overflowing sewage, Americans across the country are now experiencing what happens when our drinking water and wastewater systems age into a state of disrepair,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said in a statement.
“It’s clear that the lack of investments in our water infrastructure has led to a public health crisis and we have to do more to stop it, which is why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill,” Duckworth added.
The legislation will provide increased financial assistance for state drinking water systems, authorizing gradual increases starting with $2.4 billion for fiscal 2022 and ending with $3.25 billion in 2026.
That’s up from $1.95 billion that was authorized this year.
It would also increase funding for grants aimed at tackling lead in drinking water, which can damage children’s brains and nervous systems, from $60 million per year to $100 million per year going forward.
And it would create a grant program for projects aimed at making water systems more resilient to natural hazards, cybersecurity threats and extreme weather.