Merkley Statement on Agreement to Help Rebuild Flint and Other Crumbling Water Infrastructure Systems

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after Senate leaders, including Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, announced an agreement to move forward on a package of emergency funding to help Flint, Michigan with its water crisis and to help other cities across the country avert similar crises by investing in repairs and replacements for crumbling water infrastructure. 

The agreement is estimated to provide at least $700 million in loans through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), a Merkley-authored program that was passed in the 2014 Water Resources Development Act. WIFIA provides low-cost loans to communities across the country so that they have an affordable financing option for replacing and repairing outdated water infrastructure like the lead pipes that contaminated water in Flint. 

“The situation that the residents of Flint are facing today should be a wakeup call to all of us that old, crumbling water infrastructure presents a looming threat to health and safety in every state in our nation. It’s good news that the Senate is finally moving forward with investments that will both begin to repair the situation in Flint and help other communities avoid future disasters. I’m especially pleased that this agreement includes strong funding for WIFIA and for the State Revolving Funds, both of which are key tools to take on our water infrastructure crisis. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward on investing in water infrastructure to create jobs and safeguard public health in America.”