Locals await information on Michigan water infrastructure investment
October 10, 2020
By RICHARD JENKINS
LANSING — Locals are waiting to see whether any of the $500 million for water infrastructure upgrades Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced last week will make it to the region.
Whitmer called the MI Clean Water Plan a “significant investment after decades of underinvestment in Michigan’s infrastructure,” in her Oct. 1 announcement of the half a billion dollars in funding.
“Since the first day I took office, I have made an unwavering commitment to ensuring that Michiganders have access to clean and affordable water. The MI Clean Water Plan marks a significant step towards that goal,” Whitmer said in the announcement. “The MI Clean Water investment will help us rebuild Michigan’s water infrastructure and will prioritize and invest directly into protecting our public health, environment and economy. The MI Clean Water Plan is a critical part of the solution, but the work cannot stop here. I look forward to working with the legislature to find creative solutions to address our water infrastructure backlog. Everyone must remain committed to ensure that every Michigander has access to clean water.”
The plan addresses everything from lead service lines and toxic contaminations to failing septic systems and high water rates, according to the announcement, while not raising taxes for residents.
The plan calls for a $207.1 million investment in drinking water systems, with the remaining $293 million going towards wastewater protections.
Gogebic Range Water Authority Administrator Jean Verbos said she was waiting for details on how funding would be distributed but was hoping some would be available for local communities.
The water authority consists of Bessemer, Wakefield, Ironwood Township, Bessemer Township and Wakefield Township.
Ironwood Utilities Manager Bob Tervonen told the Daily Globe there was a webinar planned for next week and he hoped that would be an opportunity for more information on what funds might be available and what the application process will look like.