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Senator Says Fed Funds Needed For Local Water, Sewer Projects

In the wake of a major water main break in northern Erie County last night, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today said it was a “wake-up call on the urgent need to invest in our aging infrastructure” and vowed to pursue any and all available federal funds to assist Erie County in this effort. Most immediately Senator Schumer pledged to work with Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) and other municipal water providers to aggressively pursue federal dollars to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure through the federally-supported and state-administered Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) ‎and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). Each year these two programs receive well over $2 billion in federal funding and Schumer pledged to work closely with the County to help them quickly pursue these funds to make much-needed repairs and upgrades to the current water and sewer systems. 

“If the major water main break in Northern Erie County last night wasn’t a wake-up call that our infrastructure is falling apart, then I don’t what is,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “It is simply unacceptable that in the 21st century, New Yorkers have to boil their water before drinking.  New York has some of the oldest sewer and water systems in the country, and our Upstate communities desperately need their water mains upgraded. That is why I am calling on the federal government to provide more money not less money to critical programs like the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water Fund, and I will work with the County to pursue the millions in federal funds available through this program. Access to clean water shouldn’t even be a question for Erie County residents.”

Schumer has been a longtime champion of investment in water and sewer infrastructure and he has helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars for communities all across Upstate New York to invest in their water systems. In fact, recently in the Town of Westfield, just south of Erie County, Schumer helped to secure nearly $1 million in federal funding to repair aging water systems that were resulting in frequent water line breaks and boil water orders, just like those that occurred in Erie County last night. In addition, throughout his time in the Senate Schumer has fought back against proposed cuts to water and sewer infrastructure and routinely pushed to increase funding for this programs.  

Schumer also highlighted that while there is significant federal funding available now for Erie County to make urgently needed repairs more must be done to improve investment in water and sewer infrastructure. That's why this year Schumer introduced legislation, the True LEADership Act, which would provide a massive increase in DWSRF and CWSRF overtime from $8 billion in FY17 to $14 billion in FY21. Schumer has previously pushed for increases in federal investments in these programs and has routinely fought to get as much of that money as possible delivered to Upstate communities in the form of direct grant dollars. Schumer has also been a strong advocate for plans that include taxing overseas income earned by large companies and using those dollars to support direct investment in infrastructure that will not only make the water main breaks like one in Erie County less frequent but will also create thousands of good paying jobs.