New Jersey will receive nearly $170 million next year from the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve its water infrastructure.
According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan, the funding is being provided through EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs to upgrade America’s aging water infrastructure and addressing key challenges like lead in drinking water and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.
In a letter sent to Governor Phil Murphy today, Regan encouraged New Jersey to maximize the impact of water funding from the law to address disproportionate environmental burdens in historically underserved communities across New Jersey. Under this funding, the State of New Jersey will receive $168,949,000.
Impact on New Jersey
“Strong communities depend on strong infrastructure,” said Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette. “While the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has a longstanding history of working with our communities to improve this infrastructure across the state, far too much is old and in desperate need of replacement.”
EPA will allocate $7.4 billion to states, Tribes, and territories for 2022, with nearly half of this funding available as grants or principal forgiveness loans that remove barriers to investing in essential water infrastructure in underserved communities across rural America and in urban centers. The 2022 allocation is the first of five years of nearly $44 billion in dedicated EPA SRF funding that states will receive through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“With President Biden’s leadership and congressional action, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has created a historic opportunity to correct longstanding environmental and economic injustices across America,” said Regan. “As leaders, we must seize this moment. Billions of dollars are about to start flowing to states and it is critical that EPA partners with states, Tribes, and territories to ensure the benefits of these investments are delivered in the most equitable way.”
For more than 30 years, the SRFs have been the foundation of water infrastructure investments, providing low-cost financing for local projects across America. However, many vulnerable communities facing water challenges have not received their fair share of federal water infrastructure funding. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, states have a unique opportunity to correct this disparity.
LaTourette noted that the need to address water infrastructure “in our disproportionately burdened communities, which face challenges such as those posed by lead service lines.”
“The funding made possible by the passage of the national Infrastructure Law rightly focuses on the pressing needs of our environmental justice communities and opens many doors for us to better safeguard the health of our citizens, protect the environment, grow the economy and create jobs – and improve the quality of life for all New Jerseyans by making all of our communities strong,” he stated.
Regan recently completed a “Journey to Justice” tour where he heard from families and advocates about their struggles with exposure to water pollution in their communities. For children, exposure to lead can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including decreasing IQ, focus, and academic achievement. At the same time, families that live near high levels of contaminants such as PFAS or “forever chemicals” are at risk to develop adverse health outcomes.
“The implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law calls for strong partnership, and EPA stands ready to work with states to ensure that communities see the full benefits of this investment,” said the head of the federal agency.