Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today is praising Congress for passing the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act in the Senate by a vote of 78-21 that contains numerous programs to assist cities with their infrastructure needs. Key to the mayors is the inclusion of much needed aid to the City of Flint to help replace pipes to households with lead contaminated water.
Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran led several delegations to the City of Flint to work with Mayor Karen Weaver and her team to identify solutions to Flint’s drinking water crisis and to advocate on the city’s behalf for Congressional assistance. The delegations consisted of current and former mayors, including Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, as well as other public works and water-quality experts through the USCM Mayors Water Council.
“We are pleased that Congress has passed a bill that includes much needed money for the residents of Flint,” said Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director. “Everyone in the United States should be guaranteed that their water is safe to drink and the citizens of Flint have been suffering for far too long. This money will assist Mayor Karen Weaver’s ongoing efforts to replace the problem pipes in her community.”
The 700+ page legislation contains critical provisions for the City of Flint as well as other cities that have lead drinking water emergencies with $100 million in the form of State Revolving Fund and $50 million for health programs, with an additional $20 million in the Continuing Resolution bill for lead pipe replacement.
“I am thrilled that the U.S. Senate has passed a $170 million package that will help the City of Flint recover after state and federal actions left its drinking water system poisoned by lead. I especially want to thank Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, as well as Congressman Dan Kildee, for their relentless efforts to get Flint and its nearly 100,000 residents the help they need,” said Karen Weaver, Mayor of the City of Flint. “Our tap water still is not safe to drink without using a filter, an unfathomable situation for any city in this great nation. This package will help us replace far more lead-tainted pipes through my FAST Start initiative and provide resources to the thousands of Flint children who have suffered from ingesting lead-tainted water.
Although we have waited far longer for this help than expected, we are grateful to the Senate and the House for providing the assistance that will help Flint residents deal with this unprecedented health crisis and gain a brighter future.”
The bipartisan mayors’ organization is also pleased that the measure contains a wide variety of Army Corps infrastructure projects as well as initiatives on water restoration, water infrastructure financing, harbor deepening and maintenance, and water supply conservation programs to name a few. The House passed the bill Thursday night before adjourning.