Payne secures $117 billion for clean water supply

By David WildsteinJuly 08 2021 

New Jersey Globe

Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. at a U.S. Homeland Security hearing in Jersey City in 2016. 

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A $715 billion transportation infrastructure bill co-sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) that passed the House last week includes the Newark congressman’s amendment to remove lead from drinking water supplies at schools and in low-income areas that have already experienced lead contamination.

Payne’s proposal included $117 billion to decontaminate drinking water and create safer water infrastructure, with $45 billion set aside to replace all lead-contaminated water pipes.

“I am proud of the strong investments it makes in clean drinking water, but I wanted to make sure our lead removal efforts put a higher priority on schools and neighborhoods that have a history of lead contamination,” stated Payne. “We need to make sure that what happened to the drinking water in Newark and Flint, MI does not happen anywhere else.”

Huge spikes in lead traces in Newark’s water system required the replacement of nearly 19,000 lead service lines.  That’s about double what Flint has replaced.

New Jersey is in the process of mandating the replacement of all lead pipes.

The bill includes $32 billion for Amtrak to enhance their facilities and routes – including the Gateway tunnel and bridge project – as part of a $95 billion package for passenger and freight rail.

Payne, the chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, is one of five co-sponsors on the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST) Act.

The package offers $343 billion to repair roads and bridges – with $4 billion set aside for the development of an electric vehicle-charging infrastructure – and $109 billion for general transit renovations and enhancements, with additional investments into zero-emission public vehicles and rural networks.

“This bill will pave roads and repair bridges to improve commutes and trips for millions of working Americans in New Jersey and nationwide,” Payne said.  “These investments will create millions of good-paying jobs and help America become more competitive worldwide.”

Payne was among a group of New Jersey House members to join U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on a tour of the cross Hudson rail line last month.

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-07-09 03:39:40 -0700