Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition urges Congress to triple federal investment in water infrastructure.
ANN ARBOR, MICH. (February 7, 2019) – The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is supporting the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for highlighting the impacts of not investing in our nation’s infrastructure. The committee is holding a hearing today titled, “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure Cannot Wait.”
The Coalition, in a letter to U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Sam Graves (R-Mo.), ranking member on the committee, is asking Congress to at least triple federal funding for wastewater and stormwater improvements through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, to at least $5.1 billion and at least $3.5 billion respectively.
“Underfunding our nation’s water infrastructure harms our communities, our health, our Great Lakes, and our economy. We fully support the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for shining a spotlight on this serious problem, because we all know that problems get more expensive to solve the longer you wait,” said Todd Ambs, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The impacts to communities around the region from this delayed investment are devastating. The government needs to step up and do its fair share to ensure everyone in the Great Lakes has access to safe, affordable drinking water.”
The cost needed to repair and replace crumbling drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the eight Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, according to the EPA, will cost a staggering $179 billion over 20 years. The committee will be looking at the impacts of delaying this needed investment in our infrastructure, as communities struggle to find the resources they need to keep up with repairs.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has long championed a boost in federal investment in water infrastructure through programs like the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and that investments need to take into account the ability of people to pay their water bills. The Coalition supports water affordability and access to safe drinking water for everyone.
According to data from the U.S. Water Alliance and other experts, from 2010 to 2017, water costs increased 41 percent across the country. While water rates rise for consumers, federal funding for water infrastructure has dropped significantly since 1977. In that year, investments from the federal government made up 63 percent of total spending on water infrastructure. By 2014, the federal government’s contribution had dropped to 9 percent.