A major announcement from Lansing today, where clean water infrastructure takes center stage in an historic $500-million investment into communities and support for more than 7,500 clean water-based jobs.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer today, along with bipartisan and bicameral partners, 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 marks a significant investment after decades of underinvestment in Michigan’s infrastructure.
The governor says, “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,” and adds, “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. It provides direct investments for communities, helps provide safe, clean water to residents, and will support over 7,500 Michigan jobs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
EGLE Director Liesl Clark tells us, “Access to clean drinking water is a cornerstone of our work at EGLE, and this exciting package of water protections pulls together a wealth of resources to help ensure clean water for all Michiganders,” and adds, “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 storm-water 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
- Storm-water, Asset Management, and Wastewater Grants – $3 million
Gov. Whitmer contends, “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.” She adds, “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.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is fully onboard, saying, “I fully support Gov. Whitmer’s aggressive plan to invest in our state’s water infrastructure and appreciate her leadership on this issue.” Duggan notes, “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.”
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, MSU College of Human Medicine pediatrician and professor, says, “At a time when the federal government has retreated from science and public health protections, Michigan is once again leading the nation to rebuild the critical infrastructure necessary to keep Michiganders healthy and safe. It is proactive investments like this that will prevent future public health crises, reduce inequities, and ensure the promise of generations of Michiganders to come.”
Congressman Kevin Hertel a Democrat from St. Clair Shores, says, “Michigan’s infrastructure has seen systematic disinvestment for years, and my constituents in the 18th House District and residents across the state are experiencing the results. Sewage overflows in Southeast Michigan impacting Lake St. Clair, PFAS and dioxane found in multiple drinking water sources, and, of course, the lasting impact of the Flint Water Crisis are just some of the impacts we’re already facing, and we need to act now to prevent further harm.” He concludes, “This plan will allow us to address these issues while creating thousands of good-paying jobs. I am excited to put Michiganders to work to clean up our state.”
Republican State Senator Rick Outman from Six Lakes, says, “As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘when the well is dry, we know the worth of water.’ I don’t think we should wait and find out what that cost would be.” He adds, “Health and safety of our residents is a top priority. The Legislature has invested millions of dollars on improving the quality of Michigan’s drinking water and these essential water infrastructure investments would allow us to use both federal and existing state funds to further improve our water infrastructure. Having access to quality water is a fundamental, basic need that every Michigan family should have the right to. There are several solid solutions in this proposal that I look forward to seeing further fleshed out. “