Lightfoot Celebrates as Biden Signs $1T Infrastructure Bill to Fund Chicago’s Push to Remove Lead Pipes | Chicago News
The $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan, enacted Monday by President Joe Biden, provides $ 1.7 billion that will help Chicago ease the belated efforts to replace water pipes that are needed for the Tap water contamination in homes across the city are responsible for “cranking up,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot traveled to Washington, DC on Monday to watch Biden sign the law during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.
“There are many different nooks and crannies in this law that will be incredibly beneficial to Chicagoans,” Lightfoot told Chicago Tonight.
While the infrastructure plan approved by the Senate on Tuesday provides a total of $ 55 billion to improve the country’s water infrastructure to ensure universal access to safe drinking water, the amount earmarked for pipeline replacement projects was raised during negotiations Cut by two-thirds to gain the support of enough Republican senators needed to break the 60-vote threshold and break a filibuster.
About 400,000 Chicago homes are connected to the city’s aqueducts by lead pipes buried under the city’s streets, most of any American city. The metal can leach a brain-damaging chemical into drinking water.
Lightfoot said she wasn’t sure how much money Chicago could expect to replace leading service lines, but said removing those lines was a “high priority”.
“That will get everything going,” said Lightfoot. “It will make a significant difference not only to increase the number of households that can be reached, but also to reduce the amount of time.”
Chicago officials demanded that lead pipes be used to carry water to single-family homes and small apartment buildings for nearly a century. Federal law banned the use of lead pipes in 1986 when it was discovered that they could cause brain-damaging toxins to enter water.
According to federal officials, there is no safe lead content in drinking water. Lead is a neurotoxin and can be particularly harmful to children and pregnant women.
Members of the US House of Representatives are expected to vote before Thanksgiving on a $ 1.75 trillion package that the US Senate will likely only pass with Democratic votes.
Democratic leaders are considering adding additional funding for lead service line removal projects in the second bill yet to be finalized, sources told WTTW News.
Lightfoot said she hoped the second bill would allocate more funding for the removal of the main service line.
Lightfoot put forward a plan to replace all of these leading service lines, but acknowledged the city could not afford the $ 8.5 billion cost. City officials estimate it will cost $ 15,000-26,000 to remove senior service lines from every house or apartment in Chicago.
Between September 2020 and October 2021, the city crews had only replaced 10 guide lines, despite Lightfoot’s plan to replace 650 guide lines in 2021.
Lightfoot said it expects a pilot program to determine the best way to replace lead pipes when urban crews replace or repair the water pipes under the street in front of houses to minimize the disruption caused by construction and save money in late 2021 or be completed in early 2022.
Illinois law requires Chicago to replace utility lines on homes beginning in 2023 when they replace water lines. By then, Chicago will have completed a 10-year effort to replace 880 miles of centuries-old cast iron water pipes.
The infrastructure bill will also allow the city to address years of delayed and delayed maintenance of roads, bridges, tunnels and underpasses, Lightfoot said.
As the city “cuts away” that backlog, federal funding will “vastly” improve these efforts while creating thousands of jobs, Lightfoot said.
“We have problems all over town,” said Lightfoot.
The bill will also spur efforts to extend the Red Line south to 130th Street, as well as efforts to promote economic development along the railroad tracks and funds to convert the CTA’s bus fleet with all-electric vehicles, Lightfoot said.
“That’s real money to actually start the process,” said Lightfoot.
Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]