Use billions from infrastructure deal, COVID-19 aid to fix water problems in poor communities, advocates urge
New Jersey has a golden opportunity to fix its outdated water infrastructure, thanks to a potential flood of federal funding. And the new leaders of the state’s top water-advocacy group want to ensure the money will go to where they say it’s most needed.
Andy Kricun and Nicole Miller, the new co-chairs of Jersey Water Works are urging state and local governments and water utilities to focus on underserved communities when deciding how to use billions of dollars for repairing leaking water mains, replacing lead service lines or eliminating combined sewer overflows.
The expected $2 billion to $3 billion from President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure package, plus earlier funding from the American Rescue Plan and low-interest financing from the state, add up to an unexpected windfall for the public and private utilities that provide drinking water and wastewater services, and face a massive bill for bringing their systems up to 21st century standards.