U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Wisconsin Local Leaders Support Passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Making a Major Federal Investment in Rebuilding Water Infrastructure

Praise for Senator Baldwin’s work on bipartisan legislation that will help local communities replace dangerous lead service lines, address dangerous PFAS chemicals, and improve resiliency of infrastructure

By - Nov 5th, 2021 12:46 pm

Washington, D.C. – As the U.S. House of Representatives approaches a vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, local leaders across Wisconsin are praising U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin for her leadership on passing the bipartisan legislation in the Senate. The legislation makes a major federal investment to help local communities replace lead service lines and address PFAS chemicals so that we provide safe and clean drinking water to people across our state. Wisconsin will also receive support to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure so we are better prepared for the impacts of climate change and the next extreme weather events in our state.

“It is abundantly clear that local governments around the nation lack the resources to adequately mitigate the ill effects of PFAS chemicals on our precious groundwater sources. The problems are simply too insidious and complex to manage through the annual budgeting process. In order to battle the lack of willing accountability of manufacturers for the impacts of their damaging and pernicious chemicals, municipalities like La Crosse must look to federal assistance to help provide a path forward to ensure resilience and to maintain a healthy and safe water supply for all of our community’s residents,” said Mitch Reynolds, Mayor of La Crosse. “Senator Baldwin has fought to make sure that the bipartisan infrastructure bill under consideration by Congress would deliver the resources necessary to assist La Crosse and other communities to provide a dependably clean water supply which would, in simplest terms, save lives. Support of this legislation does nothing less than provide for the very health and well-being of every single person who lives within communities around the nation impacted by the PFAS crisis.”

“A healthy community and economy go hand in hand. For Rhinelander, PFAS contamination in our drinking water supply along with aging bridges, water and sewer infrastructure are barriers to achieving that. Overcoming these challenges is only possible through federal co-investment and we’re optimistic a bipartisan infrastructure package will do just that,” said Zach Vruwink, City Administrator of Rhinelander.

“As Mayor of the city of Sheboygan I’m happy to express my support for the Build Back Better bill and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” said Ryan Sorenson, Mayor of Sheboygan. “Both pieces of legislation pending in Congress provide our community with the needed investments to protect our shoreline, improve our water and transportation infrastructure and provide long overdue support for child care, housing and workforce development to keep our economy humming. Senator Baldwin has listened to the concerns of the Sheboygan community and with our support can deliver on these necessary investments.”

“The bipartisan infrastructure package addresses critical needs facing Great Lakes cities, including upgrading water infrastructure, removing lead water lines, and cleaning up emerging contaminants such as PFAS,” said Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee, on behalf of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. “It will also help us strengthen resilience to climate change by investing in programs that help cities mitigate impacts from flooding, severe storms, and shoreline erosion. Additionally, it will help us leverage the economic value of our waterfronts by investing in ports and harbors and cleaning up toxic hotspots with $1 billion to sustain progress under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, including upcoming cleanup work on the Milwaukee River. We applaud Senator Baldwin’s work to secure strong provisions for our Great Lakes communities, and the Senate’s passage of this landmark legislation. We call for its swift approval in the House of Representatives.”

“Flooding, drought, sewer overflows, lead pipes, and water pollution are all public health challenges that can be mitigated with infrastructure improvements. Unfortunately, our cash-strapped cities cannot afford these improvements. I applaud Senator Tammy Baldwin for her actions to address these national priorities by helping to spearhead improved flood management and lead pipe removal in Milwaukee. Now is the time to do even more to address these challenges in an integrated watershed approach. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides a generational opportunity for our nation to invest in itself, improve our economy, employ our citizens, protect the environment, and create a foundation for all our futures. We can leave our infrastructure better for the future if we invest now,” said Kevin Shafer, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD).

“We are grateful for the support of Senator Tammy Baldwin to reauthorize and increase revolving funds to States, create new grant and loan funding for replacement of lead service lines and treatment of per- and poly-fluorinated compounds, provide workforce development grants to prepare workers for jobs in water, and move forward a customer assistance program specific to water utility payments. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act shows recognition of the need for federal investment in water infrastructure for small, medium, and large utilities and delivers the most critical resources that will positively impact our ability to best provide clean drinking water to our customers,” said Karen Dettmer, Superintendent of Milwaukee Water Works.

“Water infrastructure is at a breaking point and, all too often, that is literally the case. For that reason, The Water Council strongly supports the proposed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act being considered in the U.S. Congress,” said Dean Amhaus, President and CEO of The Water Council. “Not only will the act help Americans have access to clean, abundant freshwater, but it will also boost water technology companies – including many in Wisconsin – working to find innovative ways to remove contaminants and improve local water infrastructure. Moreover, the Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Program will develop the critical workers of tomorrow that the water technology industry requires to grow a resilient workforce ready to tackle critical water challenges today and in the future.”

“The Coulee Region Sierra Club group leadership is grateful to Senator Tammy Baldwin for her support of the bold climate initiatives in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Senate Budget Resolution,” said Kathy Allen, Chair of the Coulee Region Sierra Club Group. “The funding for clean energy and clean transportation incentives, weatherization and electrification of buildings, clean energy manufacturing, and climate-smart agriculture in this legislation will benefit both our environment and our local economy. It will help municipalities and businesses in Western Wisconsin strengthen our communities while battling the looming climate crisis and building a healthier, more secure future for our country.”

An online version of this release is available here.

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