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Published on April 23, 2024
Gov. Whitmer Announces $290 Million Boost for Michigan's Water Infrastructure, Supporting Over 4,000 JobsSource: State of Michigan

Michigan families can expect cleaner water and thousands more jobs thanks to a hefty $290 million budget boost announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Whitmer delivered the news of the financial injection earmarked for substantial upgrades to the state's water infrastructure, an initiative poised to fortify the safety and affordability of drinking water for Michigan residents while simultaneously supporting an estimated 4,350 jobs.

The funds, sourced from the voter-approved 2022 Great Lakes Water Quality Protection Bond, will be split between the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, offering loans and financing options with low interest. "Every family in Michigan deserves access to safe drinking water and to know that we are protecting our lakes-both Great and small," Whitmer said, per CBS News Detroit. She highlighted the overarching MI Clean Water Plan's ongoing efforts, touting investments of over $4 billion since her tenure began and reiterating the resolve to continue this crucial work.

Despite the significant strides, Michigan's water infrastructure issues remain profound, with most systems breaking the half-century mark and some even nearing a centennial of usage. This reality has opened a funding gap: in the fiscal year 2024, EGLE grappled with just $1.7 billion to address over $5 billion in requests from communities for infrastructural improvements. The gulf between community needs and available funds is set to persist into the next fiscal cycle.

But this expansion is a step in the direction of models not just for improved infrastructure but also for economic stimulation. As per the United States Environmental Protection Agency, each million poured into water infrastructure equates to 15 hard hats going to work. Backing the initiative, Price Dobernick, President of the Michigan Pipe Trades Association, shared with CBS News Detroit, "We support today's $290 million investment that will create and support good-paying, union jobs for our brothers and sisters while ensuring Michiganders have access to clean drinking water."

In addition to monetary investments and job creation, Michigan is making legislative moves for safer drinking water. Gov. Whitmer inked the Clean Drinking Water Act into law in October 2023, paving the way for mandatory water filters in schools and childcare facilities, alongside a requirement for routine water testing—poised to safeguard the health of Michigan's youngest residents. Because of safeguarding the state's aquatic gems, EGLE Director Phil Roos proclaimed, “Ensuring access to affordable, clean drinking water and safeguarding our Great Lakes is a top priority for Michiganders.” This agenda resonates throughout the expansion of the MI Clean Water Plan, as Michigan navigates the multifaceted approach to provide its communities not just with the essence of life but also with the dignity of work, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.