Wicker backs $20 million for beleaguered Jackson water system

Sen. Roger Wicker
Sen. Roger Wicker(Gray Television)
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A resolution that would temporarily fund the United States government through December 16 also would provide $20 million for Jackson’s water crisis.

Tuesday, Sen. Roger Wicker announced that he had voted in support of a continuing resolution to continue funding the government almost through the end of the year.

The bill, which is essentially a measure to prevent the federal government from running out of money, includes additional funding to help Jackson repair its beleaguered water system.

“I support providing additional resources to help the city of Jackson address its water infrastructure needs,” he said in a statement. “The $20 million included in this funding legislation would build on the initial $5 million provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“This funding will not be enough to address the long-standing water infrastructure issues in Jackson, but this is a good start.”

The city estimates that it needs tens of millions of dollars to make immediate necessary upgrades to its water system, including between $16 million and $21 million for priority repairs at its O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant.

Equipment failures at the facility led to a near shutdown of Jackson’s water system in late August, prompting the state to take over the plant’s operations.

According to CNN, the Senate agreed to take up the measure for a vote, but when that vote will be taken is unknown. Lawmakers now must pass the resolution to continue funding the government by Friday at midnight to avoid a government shutdown, CNN states.

Tuesday’s vote for cloture, or motion to proceed, was passed on a 72-23 vote, a good sign the bill will likely pass. From there, the bill would have to back to the House for a final vote.

A copy of the bill shared by the cable news outlet shows that the $20 million would go to the corps to help cover “necessary expenses related to water and wastewater infrastructure” in the capital city.

Under Section 219 of the Water Resources Development Act, the corps is authorized “to assist non-federal interests in carrying out water-related environmental infrastructure and resource protection and development projects,” the corps’ Civil Works Policy Guidebook states.

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