Senator Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) plans to introduce a bill to help communities around the Great Lakes region, and the country, fix their crumbling water infrastructure. The pipes and buildings that make up our water infrastructure system are aging. In the Great Lakes region, and around the country, funding for water infrastructure is inadequate to keep up with needs. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in the Great Lakes region alone more than $179 billion is needed over 20 years to repair and replace our wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. Currently, the Federal Government helps communities pay for expensive, but urgently needed water infrastructure projects using the Clean Water or Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. These funds provide low-interest loans for projects, but for certain communities even these low-interest loans are unaffordable.

Senator Gillibrand plans to introduce a bill that would provide grants to communities–not just loans–to address costly wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects. We will be watching as more details become available, as affordability is key to infrastructure investments. An article in the New York shares more details about the bill here.