Bipartisan water package readies communities to harness federal infrastructure dollars
LANSING, Mich. – Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bills 5890, 5891, and 5892 to expand access to clean, safe water for Michigan communities.
“Every Michigan family in every community deserves access to safe drinking water,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Today, I am proud to sign a bipartisan water package that will make it easier for communities to finance and initiate water infrastructure projects. Since I took office, we have invested over $2 billion to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across Michigan, supporting 30,000 good-paying jobs. In April, I signed the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan, which will invest another $2 billion, supporting 27,000 jobs to replace 20,000 lead service lines, prevent highway flooding, provide clean water to schools and childcare centers, and so much more. I will work with anyone to invest in Michigan’s water infrastructure and ensure every family has access to clean, safe water.”
“This critical funding will support communities as they address backlogged water system needs and help ensure high-quality drinking water for Michiganders,” said Liesl Clark, Director of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “EGLE is committed to partnering with our communities in the coming years to ensure that Michiganders’ health and their environment have the best protections possible.”
Together as a package, House Bills 5890, 5891 and 5892 comprehensively update Michigan’s State Revolving Fund statue. Communities can expect to see a lower burden to accessing state financing and funding to address water infrastructure needs, and the bills allow flexibility to ensure financing is equitably distributed.
The bills amend the financing program to allow dollars to flow to the modern infrastructure needs of communities. The updates outlined in the legislation are critical to ensuring that communities can efficiently and effectively utilize the influx of state and federal water infrastructure dollars.
Expanding Access to Clean Water
HB 5890 expands access to clean and safe drinking water for Michiganders by amending the requirements and processes to access water infrastructure financing.
HB 5890 was sponsored by Rep. Beth Griffin R-Mattawan, and a copy can be found here.
“This bipartisan package signals a victory for small towns that often face significant barriers to receiving dollars available in the State Revolving Funds to repair their old water and sewer lines,” said Rep. Beth Griffin, R-Mattawan. “These bills streamline the process to apply for and receive funding and communities will see these water infrastructure projects processed more efficiently. This package represents the culmination of years of bipartisan work, and I am proud to have worked alongside Reps. Martin and Cambensy to make this common-sense legislation work for all of our communities.”
HB 5891 is a companion bill to HB 5890 and makes needed reference updates in the Shared Credit Rating Act.
HB 5891 was sponsored by Rep. David Martin, R-Davison, and a copy can be found here.
HB 5892 lowers the burden of the application process so that communities can more quickly get the dollars necessary to build critical infrastructure projects.
HB 5892 was sponsored by Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, and a copy can be found here.
Governor Whitmer's Water Investments
Since taking office, Governor Whitmer’s investments into water infrastructure supports good-paying jobs and gives every Michigander the confidence that their drinking water is clean and safe. This year, Governor Whitmer signed the Building Michigan Together Plan, which invested nearly $2 billion, supporting 27,000 jobs to remove lead service lines, reduce toxic contaminants like PFAS, rebuild wastewater and sewer infrastructure, provide clean water for schools and childcare centers, prevent highway flooding and much more. In 2020, she launched the MI Clean Water Plan, and invested over $2 billion to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across the state, supporting 30,000 jobs. She also launched the Michigan Infrastructure Office to coordinate federal resources from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and signed an executive directive to streamline and improve permitting for infrastructure projects.
Quotes from Supporting Organizations
“As local municipalities, we support changes to the SRF that will simplify, modernize, and make this system more user friendly and accessible,” said Christian Wuerth, Milford Village Manager. “A streamlined, flexible process will ensure communities can invest in resilient, sustainable water systems and continue to deliver clean and safe drinking water.”
“Water and sewer infrastructure investment continues to be a significant need for municipalities throughout the State of Michigan,” said Matthew Treado, Ishpeming Manger at U.P. Engineers & Architects, Inc. “The State Revolving Fund (SRF) is the most important funding mechanism for water and sewer infrastructure improvements. The rules and processes that this program has been following are antiquated and rigid. The adoption of House Bills 5890, 5891, and 5892 will improve the program to be more adaptive to the evolving infrastructure needs of the State. The passing of these bills will reduce the cost and increase the simplicity of the SRF process for communities across the State.”
“Thousands of jobs have been created as communities across the state continue to upgrade their service lines,” said Price Dobernick, President of the Michigan Pipe Trades Association. “Today’s announcement further proves the governor’s commitment to protecting public health and creating good-paying jobs by making infrastructure upgrades more accessible for communities.”
"The Michigan Water Environment Association (MWEA) and the Michigan Section of the American Water Works Association (MI-AWWA) wish to express our sincerest appreciation to the Governor’s office and the Michigan Legislature for passage of House Bills 5890-5892,” said Elaine Venema, MWEA Board President and Bonnifer Ballard, MI-AWWA Executive Director. “Members of our organizations rely heavily on the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Program to finance essential infrastructure projects which are critical to providing clean, safe drinking water and maintaining the excellent quality of Michigan’s lakes and streams. These bills represent the culmination of over four years of dedicated efforts by our members, the staff at EGLE, and the sponsors of this bill. We heartily endorse these updates to the SRF Program, the first significant overhaul in decades, and look forward to our continued partnerships with state policymakers going forward.”
“After Governor Whitmer and Michigan Legislators made a historic investment in our water infrastructure earlier this year, communities across Michigan are planning for improvements to their water infrastructure that will protect public health, the environment, and our water,” said Charlotte Jameson, Chief Policy Officer at the Michigan Environmental Council. “The State Revolving Loan Funds are one of the only tools communities have to access needed funding for critical water infrastructure investments without drastically raising rates and exacerbating affordability challenges. Due to outdated Michigan law, it has been difficult for communities, especially historically disadvantaged urban and rural communities, to access these loans. These updates reduce barriers to accessing water infrastructure financing and funding and ensure that stakeholders and impacted residents have a voice in the process. We thank Representative Griffin and EGLE for championing these bills and Governor Whitmer for signing them into law.”