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Whitmer signs directive preparing state to use federal funds to replace lead service lines

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Posted at 10:49 AM, Nov 22, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed on Monday an executive directive to state departments and agencies to collaborate with the Legislature and begin preparing to replace lead service lines, build up water infrastructure and continue prioritizing safe drinking water.

It’s in preparation for federal funds Michigan expects to receive specifically for water infrastructure from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, according to a news release.

“Right now, we have an incredible opportunity to put Michiganders first by using the funds we will be getting under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure every community has safe drinking water,” Whitmer said. “With this executive directive, we are accelerating the timeline to replace 100% of lead service lines in Michigan, prioritizing communities that have been disproportionately impacted, fostering enhanced collaboration across departments and ensuring that the projects are built by Michigan workers and businesses. I look forward to working with the Legislature to invest these dollars and get the job done.”

The directive tells state departments to take several actions:

  • Putting Michigan workers and businesses first, prioritizing in-state businesses and workers as work to upgrade water infrastructure continues. 
  • Prioritizing lead service line replacement for communities that have been disproportionately burdened by lead in their drinking water and communities that require financial or technical assistance to utilize water infrastructure dollars 
  • Helping local communities build infrastructure efficiently, using the “dig once” principle to complete work on water, high-speed internet, the road and other utilities simultaneously wherever possible 
  • Finding opportunities to layer in flooding resiliency to water infrastructure, incorporating lessons learned from this summer’s historic floods 
  • Working with community colleges, trade associations and unions to train new craftsmen that will build infrastructure, creating good-paying jobs. 

Read the full executive directive here.