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Whitmer announces $290 million in water infrastructure funding

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer marked Earth Day with the announcement of nearly $300 million in water infrastructure investments.

They’re the latest in a series of programs, the state says, that are designed to position Michigan as a leader in environmental policy.

Whitmer made the announcement at a wastewater treatment plant in Lansing, one of the types of facilities she says would be eligible for state money.


“Today we’re taking action to ensure clean water flows to every community, every household and every faucet,” she said. “We know that delivering on this promise requires investments in water infrastructure, which is invisible, but absolutely invaluable.”

The funding will be loaned to local governments for various improvement projects, including lead service line replacements, improvements to sewer systems and upgrades to drinking water facilities.

“Most of our state’s water systems are more than 50 years old, and many are approaching a century of service life,” she said. “As we work together to grow our population and our economy, we need to make sure that we can deliver on the fundamentals.”

Whitmer says the state has invested more than $4 billion into water facilities since 2019. Phil Roos, head of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, says the funding would continue fill a shortfall in local government infrastructure investments.


“It’s really going to help us to do our job to support communities, to update aging infrastructure, to improve the reliability of treatment systems, to increase water quality,” he said. “And something we don’t think about very often — to actually decrease costs associated with providing water, and that’s going to translate to lower costs for residents.”

State leaders say years of deferred maintenance have made Michigan’s infrastructure issues worse and increased demand for upgrades across the state.

Whitmer’s office says EGLE received more than $5 billion in community requests in fiscal year 2023, but was only able to provide $1.7 billion. In the current fiscal year, the department has received more than $3.5 billion in requests and has about $720 million to give out.

“We’re leaning forward into this challenge with grit and determination and stand ready to use every tool available to help us make that happen, to protect our water,” Roos said.

The funding will come from Great Lakes Water Quality Bonds, a program approved by voters in 2002 that allowed the state to issue bonds that support loans to improve local water systems.

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