Governor Ned Lamont today is applauding the announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the State of Connecticut is being awarded more than $53 million in funding from President Joe Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for water infrastructure improvements.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated more than $50 billion to the EPA toward repairing the nation's essential water infrastructure, which helps communities access clean, safe and reliable drinking water, increase resilience, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, clean up pollution, and safeguard vital waterways. The grant marks the first significant distribution of water infrastructure funds thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The state plans to use the funding for lead line replacement projects in New London and Waterbury, as well as PFAS treatment projects in New Fairfield and Danbury. A host of other projects are slated for funding in the state through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will significantly increase the ability of towns and cities to meet their infrastructure needs.
"Clean drinking water is a right, not a privilege," Governor Lamont said. "Thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the work of our amazing Congressional delegation, we're not only making commutes faster and safer, we're also improving the health and wellness of our children and families. Whether our residents live in one of Connecticut's smallest towns or its biggest cities, they'll have the opportunity to benefit from this once-in-a-generation investment."
"We are so fortunate to have additional funds for our Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to address many of the important infrastructure issues of our aging water systems," Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, said. "However, the additional investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address lead and emerging contaminants is historic. Lead service line replacement along with PFAS treatment are two priorities for the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The mission of every public health initiative in Connecticut is seen through a health equity lens, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will address these important issues in some of our most vulnerable communities."
The EPA's State Revolving Funds (SRFs) are part of President Biden's Justice40 initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40% of the benefits from certain federal programs flow to underserved communities. Furthermore, nearly half the funding available through the SRFs thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law must be grants or principal forgiveness loans that remove barriers to investing in essential water infrastructure in underserved communities across rural America and in urban centers.
In fiscal year 2022, the six New England states have received a total of $484,744,421 with nearly half of this funding available as grants or principal forgiveness loans that remove barriers to investing in essential water infrastructure in underserved communities across rural America and in urban centers. The fiscal year 2022 allocation is the first of five years of $43 billion in dedicated EPA SRF funding that states will receive through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. For more than 30 years, the SRFs have been the foundation of water infrastructure investments, providing low-cost financing for local projects across America. However, many vulnerable communities facing water challenges have not received their fair share of federal water infrastructure funding. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, states have a unique opportunity to correct this disparity.
Funding announced today represents fiscal year 2022 awards for states that have submitted and obtained EPA's approval of their plans for use of the funding. Capitalization grants will continue to be awarded, on a rolling state-by-state basis, as more states receive approval throughout fiscal year 2022. States will also receive awards over the course of the next four years. As grants are awarded, the state SRF programs can begin to distribute the funds as grants and loans to communities across their state.
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, "All communities need access to clean, reliable, safe water. Thanks to President Biden's leadership and the resources from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are repairing aging water infrastructure, replacing lead service lines, cleaning up contaminants, and making our communities more resilient in the face of floods and climate impacts."
White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu said, "President Biden has been clear -- we cannot leave any community behind as we rebuild America's infrastructure with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Because of his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, nearly half of the additional SRF funding will now be grants or forgivable loans, making accessing these critical water resources easier for small, rural and disadvantaged communities."
EPA Regional Administrator David W. Cash said, "The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is funding critical water infrastructure projects across New England, especially in places that have been historically underserved. No one should be worried when they turn on their tap and ensuring clean drinking water and safe wastewater services to communities across the region is essential. We are proud to work with states, Tribes, and communities in making these unprecedented investments."
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said, "Much of Connecticut's water and sewer treatment infrastructure is very old and desperately in need of improvements to ensure safe drinking water and clean rivers and streams. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, dozens of communities across the state will receive millions of dollars to upgrade their water infrastructure. This unprecedentedly large federal investment will allow towns and cities from New Haven to Hartford to Litchfield and beyond to replace lead water pipes with safer alternatives, begin PFAS treatment projects, and make other critical upgrades to their sewage treatment facilities. I am pleased and proud to see these funds delivered to Connecticut and will keep fighting for federal support and funding for these important projects."
Congressman John Larson said, "Every person in our country deserves access to clean, reliable water, and that is one reason why we worked to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Washington. From replacing lead pipes to protecting our community from flooding, I'm proud this funding is coming right back to Connecticut to ensure our neighbors can live happy, healthy lives."
Congressman Joe Courtney said, "We passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act through Congress last winter, and we've already seen the new law completing and kick-starting all sorts of great projects that are going to prepare our towns for economic success and improved quality of life. Increased infrastructure investments are providing us with upgraded public transportation, much-needed repairs to some of our most iconic bridges and railways, and all sorts of other local priorities that are getting marked off the to-do list. The IIJA is delivering these increased investments for the next four years, and they're also going to help bolster our towns' essential water infrastructure. Projects like replacing old water lines, flood mitigation, treating for PFAS, and investing in wastewater systems are costly, but they're essential to everyday life and to our region's economy, and they're critically important for protecting our environment. Now, the IIJA is providing our state with a historic amount of funding to complete these types of water infrastructure projects in towns across our region. This is a big win for our towns and for our natural heritage in eastern Connecticut, and it's going to lead to even more jobs."
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said, "The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has been groundbreaking, especially for cities like New Haven and West Haven. Investments in water infrastructure will help us address municipal water pollution across the state. It will help ensure all of Connecticut's families have access to clean, safe, and reliable drinking water and that the state has proper water infrastructure in place to prevent flooding, protect public health, and secure our waterways."
Congressman Jim Himes said, "Every American deserves access to clean and safe drinking water. This is the type of essential infrastructure improvement that was intended when we passed the legislation earlier this year, and I am thrilled this federal funding being used to benefit Connecticut's residents."
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes said, "Access to water is essential to the health and safety of everyone. Thanks to the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, critical lead replacement and PFAS treatment projects will finally happen in the Fifth District, ensuring clean water for our communities. These upgrades will remove harmful chemicals that threaten the health of children and families and are known to cause lifelong illnesses. I am steadfast in my commitment to fortifying our water infrastructure and will continue to advocate for clean water solutions."