President Joe Biden has signed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that would allocate $600 million to Jackson to restore the city’s failing water system.
Biden signed H.R. 2617 on Thursday afternoon after the bill was passed in the House of Representatives and Senate last week.
According to the bill, $150 million of the allocated funds for Jackson’s water infrastructure will be designated for “technical assistance” while the remaining $450 million will be used for “capital projects.” The bill goes on to say that the funding would be used to improve the city’s overall water system, as well as other priorities including wastewater, road, and bridge projects.
Although the funds were initially allocated in response to the failure of Jackson’s O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant in late August, residents across the capital city continue to experience low water pressure and leaks in the main system. At this time, Jackson has been under a boil water notice for nearly a week, with a boil water notice being placed on the city over the weekend.
Prior to its passing, the bill garnered the support of both Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Representative Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., as well as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan.
Regan issued the following statement regarding the bill’s passing:
“I’m especially proud that the bipartisan funding bill provides $1 billion in much-needed relief for communities devastated by recent hurricanes and invests $600 million to respond to the drinking water emergency in Jackson, Mississippi. This summer, the crisis of aging water infrastructure in America rose to the national conscience when more than 150,000 people in a capital city were left without clean drinking water for weeks. The people of Jackson – like all people in this country – deserve access to clean, safe, and reliable water. EPA worked diligently alongside state and local partners to secure an agreement that will help deliver a sustainable water system for Jackson for the long-term.”