Granholm Signs Legislation Making it Easier for Communities to Undertake Water Pollution Prevention Projects

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

December 1, 2005

Part of Governor’s Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow Plan

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed into law a package of bills that will create jobs in Michigan by helping local communities make necessary infrastructure improvements that will enhance the state’s water quality.   The bills will make it easier for Michigan communities to access nearly $900 million low-interest loans from the State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund (SRF).   SRF loans can be used to finance sewage treatment and storm water projects that both help to protect Michigan water and improve community infrastructure.

“To keep Michigan growing, our local communities need to be able to grow with us,” said Granholm.  “This legislation allows the state to partner with our local governments to develop the needed infrastructure improvements that will protect Michigan’s water and keep Michigan’s economy growing.”

SRF funds were made available to communities when voters approved the Clean Water Initiative in 2000.  Today’s action will help jumpstart local sewer projects by making it easier for communities to access SRF funds.  The bills signed today eliminate the need for communities to provide up-front funds to develop improvement plans.  Having to provide those funds in advance is a factor that often prohibited cash-strapped communities from participating in the program.

The bipartisan, bicameral legislation signed by the Governor – Senate Bill 789 (PA 253), Senate Bill 790 (PA 257), Senate Bill 799 (PA 255), House Bill 4572 (PA 254), House Bill 4573 (PA 256), and House Bill 5297 (PA 252) – allows the Department of Environmental Quality to provide up to $40 million in grants from the Strategic Water Quality Initiatives Fund (SWQIF) to cover local governments’ costs of developing improvement plans that will be submitted for loan assistance.

Dan Gilmartin, executive director of the Michigan Municipal League, applauded today’s action.

“These bills begin the process of restoring the state's aging infrastructure that is so critical to improving Michigan's economy and helping us attract new businesses to our state,” Gilmartin said.  “The Michigan Municipal League appreciates the Legislature and the Governor passing these bills to give financial incentives to cities and villages to repair their aging infrastructure.  These bills not only give much needed incentives to cities and villages to rebuild sewer infrastructure, but they are also good for the environment and local economies.”

Also supporting the new laws is the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association (MITA).

“The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) is extremely encouraged by the Governor’s signing today of legislation that will help improve the condition of aging sewer infrastructure systems throughout the state,” said Mike Nystrom, MITA’s vice president of government and public relations.  “Our contractors stand ready to go to work as municipalities take advantage of the sewer grants allowed by this legislation.”

Granholm said she hopes communities will take advantage of this new opportunity.

“We strongly encourage local communities to use this loan program to make the infrastructure improvements that are needed to spur new development,” Granholm said.  “It is an investment that will keep Michigan healthy and vibrant for years to come by protecting our environment and saving local governments money, while at the same time creating jobs right now.”

Communities interested in applying for funding should contact the Department of Environmental Quality at 1-800-662-9278, or online at www.michigan.gov/deq

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