Michigan governor announces $500 million investment in water infrastructure

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, along with bipartisan and bicameral partners, recently announced MI Clean Water, a $500 million comprehensive water infrastructure investment in Michigan’s water systems from source to tap. The MI Clean Water plan, the state says, marks a significant investment after decades of underinvestment in Michigan’s infrastructure.

“Since the first day I took office, I have made an unwavering commitment to ensuring that Michiganders have access to clean and affordable water. The MI Clean Water Plan marks a significant step toward that goal,” said Whitmer. “The MI Clean Water investment will help us rebuild Michigan’s water infrastructure and will prioritize and invest directly into protecting our public health, environment, and economy. The MI Clean Water Plan is a critical part of the solution, but the work cannot stop here. I look forward to working with the legislature to find creative solutions to address our water infrastructure backlog. Everyone must remain committed to ensuring that every Michigander has access to clean water.”

The MI Clean Water investment is a unified approach to cleaner, more affordable water. According to EPA, the investment will provide direct financial support for communities, helps provide safe, clean water to residents and will support more than 7,500 Michigan jobs.

“Access to clean drinking water is a cornerstone of our work at EGLE [The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy], and this exciting package of water protections pulls together a wealth of resources to help ensure clean water for all Michiganders,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “Now is the perfect time to invest state and federal dollars in a coordinated way to encourage job growth in water infrastructure jobs. This work will ripple throughout both the economy and the systems that protect public health, strengthening both.”

MI Clean Water confronts the large infrastructure issues that Michigan faces, such as lead-laden water service lines, toxic contamination like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), undersized sewers, failing septic systems, unaffordable water rates, and constrained local budgets. MI Clean Water will reduce barriers for communities and allow them to access needed funds for necessary and timely infrastructure upgrades.

This historic investment includes a proposal combining federal dollars for lead service line replacement in low-income communities ($102.1 million) with bonding authority for water quality protection ($290 million), one-time General Fund appropriation for drinking water infrastructure and innovation ($105 million), and asset management grants ($2.9 million) to help communities develop, update, and improve their plans for wastewater and stormwater systems resulting in a comprehensive water infrastructure investment of $500 million in Michigan’s water systems. The MI Clean Water investment will be done without raising the taxes of Michiganders.

A $207.1 million investment in drinking water quality, including:

  • Lead Service Line Replacement in Disadvantaged Communities Program – $102 million
  • Lead and Copper – Drinking Water Asset Management Grants – $37.5 million
  • PFAS and Emerging Contaminants – Contamination and Consolidation Grants – $25 million
  • Non-Lead Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants – $35 million
  • Affordability and Planning Grants – $7.5 million

A $293 million investment in wastewater protection, including:

  • Clean Water Infrastructure Grants (eliminating sanitary sewer overflows; correcting combined sewer overflows; increasing green infrastructure) – $235 million
  • Substantial Public Health Risk Grants (removing direct and continuous discharges of raw sewage from surface or ground water) – $20 million
  • Failing Septic System Elimination Program – $35 million
  • Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater Grants – $3 million

“It’s time for the legislature to take bold actions to invest in Michigan’s infrastructure and protect our water from toxic contamination. I’m calling on the legislature to authorize EGLE to use the remainder of the voter-approved 2002 Great Lakes Water Quality bond during this legislative session,” said Whitmer. “Michiganders are tired of waiting for action, the time is now. We must all work together to improve the quality of the waters of our State.”

“I fully support Gov. Whitmer’s aggressive plan to invest in our state’s water infrastructure and appreciate her leadership on this issue,” added Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “In Detroit, where we have the oldest infrastructure in the state, it would give us the ability to greatly expand our water main replacement program and replace an additional 2,000 lead service lines beyond our current program. As we do with all of our capital projects, we will hire Detroiters to do this work.  We also plan to dedicate a portion of these funds to expand our affordability programs to help our most impoverished residents, who cannot take advantage of our other assistance programs.”

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