3/31/2021 11:45:08 AM
[ST. PAUL, MN] — Governor Tim Walz has joined the governors of three other Great Lakes states to urge President Joe Biden to prioritize federal investments in long-neglected water infrastructure to advance environmental sustainability and climate resilience, put Americans to work, and address structural inequities that saddle at-risk communities with some of the nation’s most daunting water infrastructure challenges. In addition to Governor Walz, the letter to the Biden Administration was signed by governors JB Pritzker of Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, and Tony Evers of Wisconsin.
“Here in Minnesota, we know the power of the Great Lakes. Lake Superior is a vital part of our culture and economy,” said Governor Walz. “Governors Pritzker, Whitmer, Evers, and I are committed to modernizing and building resilient, climate-conscious water infrastructure. We look forward to continued partnership with the Biden Administration on prioritizing bold water infrastructure investments.”
In a letter sent to President Biden, the governors lauded the American Rescue Plan Act’s $360 billion in direct aid to state and local governments and the inclusion of water and sewer infrastructure as acceptable uses for the federal money. The letter encourages the administration to continue emphasizing modernizing America’s water infrastructure in policy agendas.
Maintaining this emphasis will help states create comprehensive water infrastructure programs with local, state, and federal resources that can spur and complement progress on COVID‑19 response, economic recovery, racial equity, climate resilience, and other top administration priorities.
The letter outlines the many challenges of communities struggling to maintain old water treatment and management systems across the Great Lakes states. From dam failures to water main breaks, to emerging pollutants like PFAS and high water levels exacerbated by climate change impacts, states face a daunting array of new challenges to already-stressed systems.
More than $2 trillion in national water infrastructure work will be needed in the next 20 years, the governors told President Biden. “It is time to think big” in order to meet the President’s challenge to “build back better,” the letter concludes.