12.16.16

Investments in Safe Drinking Water, Waterway Infrastructure and our Great Lakes Championed by Senator Baldwin Signed into Law by President Obama

Senator Baldwin fought for vital water projects to promote drinking water safety, improve waterway and port infrastructure and strengthen the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today applauded the bipartisan water infrastructure legislation being signed into law by President Obama. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act included investments and reforms championed by Senator Baldwin to accelerate the development of water technologies to solve pressing water challenges, expand lead water testing and pipe replacements efforts, improve ports and waterways in Wisconsin, and strengthen the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“Communities in Wisconsin and across the United States are committed to providing safe drinking water for families and their children, and to do that we need to invest in rebuilding our water infrastructure,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’ve heard from Wisconsinites who are calling for stronger investments to meet this challenge and I have worked in the Senate to advance bipartisan solutions. I am proud to see these investments pass Congress and become law.”

Senator Baldwin’s Water Technology Acceleration Act

The WIIN Act protects against health threats in our water supply by incorporating provisions from Senator Baldwin’s Water Technology Acceleration Act.  The bill will help municipal water systems use innovative water technologies to improve water quality, combat contaminants from reaching our homes, and reduce water treatment costs for local ratepayers. Members of the Water Council are developing many of these innovative technologies in Wisconsin. 

Taking Action on Lead in Water

On the heels of the Flint water crisis, Senator Baldwin helped lead the introduction of the Testing, Removal and Updated Evaluations of Lead Everywhere in America for Dramatic Enhancements that Restore Safety to Homes, Infrastructure and Pipes Act of 2016, or True LEADership Act, to improve our nation’s water infrastructure and address the scourge of lead-laden water and housing, while creating thousands of new jobs. WIIN includes numerous reforms from the True LEADership Act that Senator Baldwin has championed:

  • Aid to Help Flint Fix and Repair Water Infrastructure The bill provides $100 million in new federal funding to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The State of Michigan can access these funds to address the crisis in Flint—which received a federal declaration by the President due to a public health threat from high amounts of lead in drinking water.
  • Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA): The bill will leverage at least $200 million in secured financing for water infrastructure projects across the country. WIFIA will significantly leverage federal investment in water infrastructure, lower the cost of infrastructure investments, and increase the availability of lower-cost capital for critical water infrastructure projects. All water systems are eligible for WIFIA financing.
  • Reducing lead in drinking water: Senator Baldwin advocated for the inclusion of provisions that will help communities rebuild water infrastructure and reduce the threat of lead poisoning from drinking water. Communities will be able to use this funding for replacement of lead service lines, testing, planning, and corrosion control. The bill authorizes $60 million in grant funding for each of fiscal years 2017 through 2021, for a total of $300 million over five years.
  • Assistance to Small and Disadvantaged Communities: WIIN authorizes $300 million over five years for a new EPA grant program that will help small and disadvantaged communities identify contamination issues and protect the health of their residents in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • Lead testing in school and child care drinking water grant program: The bill authorizes $20 million a year for fiscal years 2017 through 2021, totaling $100 million, for grants to carry out a voluntary school and child care lead testing program.

 

Moving Wisconsin Products to Market—investing in Shipping Infrastructure

Improvements to ports and harbors: WIIN makes improvements to ports around the country to provide Wisconsin’s manufacturers and agricultural producers with the quality infrastructure they need to move their goods to market. The bill also provides continued investment in the Great Lakes Navigation System, which keeps costs low for consumers and is vital for our Made in Wisconsin economy.

 

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

After years of championing our Great Lakes, Senator Baldwin successfully fought to reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for five more years. The GLRI is a popular program that empowers states and local communities to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world. Senator Baldwin helped lead the fight to make sure the GLRI was strengthened in this legislation.