Michigan advocates are applauding as a “major victory” a new $5B infrastructure bill designed to improve drinking water, sewers, parks and other essential measures considered the largest and most beneficial environmental investment in the state in decades.
At least $2.5 billion of Senate Bill 565 – which passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law on March 30 – is allocated for projects that will improve the quality of drinking water, as well as fund wastewater and stormwater projects, and replace lead service lines, among other improvements.
Several Joyce grantees championed the bill, including the Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and We the People of Detroit. They have pushed for decades to address environmental disinvestment, and to direct resources toward the measures passed in the bill that they said will improve the quality of life for all Michiganders. Water affordability, a critical issue across Michigan, was not addressed in the legislation and groups are committed to finding other ways to address this issue.
“These are the investments that Michiganders need and deserve," said Megan Tinsley, water policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council. "The budget surplus that led to this funding is unprecedented, but the challenges we face each day with our aging water infrastructure and clean water access are not. It’s encouraging to see our lawmakers recognize this, and to watch these dollars get put to work on projects that will make a lasting impact on peoples’ lives.”
Some of the allocations include:
- $515 million for wastewater and stormwater upgrades
- $750 million for drinking water infrastructure improvement projects
- $50 million for drinking water filters in schools and childcare facilities
- $88.2 million to address emerging contaminants, like toxic PFAS contaminants in storm and wastewater
- $35 million to address failing septic systems
“This bipartisan bill represents the single-greatest investment in our history toward protecting our water and addressing critical drinking water contamination that is threatening the health of communities across the state,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
About The Joyce Foundation
Joyce is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.