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Federal spending bill includes $600 million for Jackson water infrastructure

O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant (Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News)

Congress is set to vote on a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill for the upcoming fiscal year, with Jackson set to receive $600 million in funds to restore the capital city’s water infrastructure.

If approved by the House of Representatives and Senate this week, $150 million in the funds will be designated for “technical assistance” while the remaining $450 million will be used for “capital projects.”

The funds, which have been allocated in response to the failure of Jackson’s O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant in late August, would be used to improve the city’s overall water system, as well as other priorities including wastewater, road, and bridge projects.

So far, the bill has garnered the support of both Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Representative Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who have both stated their intentions to vote in approval to avoid a government shutdown.

“I look forward to voting for the complete omnibus package. I am proud to support the $600 million that will be included in the omnibus bill to help Jackson, Mississippi,” Thompson said in a statement. “In addition to the $600 million, Jackson will receive additional funding from the omnibus bill, which I look forward to voting for on Thursday, December 22, 2022.”

The omnibus bill will be voted on in the House on Thursday if passed by the Senate on Wednesday.

At this time, Jackson’s water system is being managed by third party administrator Ted Henifin, who was appointed by the U.S. Justice Department in late November. The Justice Department, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has also filed a complaint against the city alleging that the city has failed to provide drinking water that is reliably compliant with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Jackson, MSDH agree to appoint interim third-party manager for water system

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