New Bill Aims To Fix Water Infrastructure

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s legislation would provide grants to upgrade infrastructure.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced new legislation, the Promoting Infrastructure and Protecting the Economy (PIPE) Act, which would create a new grant program for water infrastructure projects. The bill would authorize $5 billion over 10 years to provide discretionary grants to state and local governments, tribal governments and public water utilities for projects related to drinking water and waste water infrastructure.

Grants funded by Gillibrand’s PIPE Act could be used to construct, replace or repair public drinking water and waste water infrastructure, including projects to upgrade facilities to comply with water quality regulations to protect public health and the environment.

According to a report by the New York State Office of the Comptroller, New York State drinking water and wastewater infrastructure will require tens of billions of dollars in investment in the coming decades. Wastewater treatment facilities are, on average, 30 years old, and 30 percent of the underground sewers are over 60 years old and operating beyond their useful life expectancy. Gillibrand’s legislation would allow communities to make critical upgrades to their water systems, ensuring clean water for their residents and reliable water systems to help promote economic development.

“Too many communities in New York that pipes that are old and leaking, lack sewer systems and have outdated technology that isn’t doing a good enough job of keeping wastewater from polluting the environment,” said Gillibrand. “No New Yorker should ever have to worry about whether their water is safe to drink. My new bill, the PIPE Act, would create a new discretionary grant program to fund drinking water and sewer projects so that communities can have the resources they need to fix their broken water infrastructure.”

The PIPE Act

• Establish a new discretionary grant program for water infrastructure and authorize it to be funded at $5 billion over the next 10 years.
• Allow state, local and tribal governments and public water utilities to apply for grants for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
• Allow multiple projects to be bundled into one grant application to help small and rural projects compete for funds.
• Ensure that grants are spent on a mix of rural, suburban and urban projects by capping the maximum amount of the total funding any one state can receive at 20 percent.

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