MRWA awarded Outstanding Achievement in Legislative Initiatives
At the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 with all states having a substantial amount of ARP funding still available instead of having groups competing against each other a group of 58 associations and entities including rural water decided it was best to coalesce around a bold vision for our state to strategically invest in our residents. As a group we worked on a roadmap to invest, leverage, and amplify American Rescue Plan resources to lay a foundation for a stronger recovery. As a coalition we targeted five areas infrastructure, fiscal health, thriving communities, strong economy and public health and safety. Our bold vision as a coalition was for our state’s future to capitalize on the economic value of thriving communities, advances equity, builds community wealth, supports entrepreneurship, prioritize the need for talent and spurs business development. As a coalition we advocated for spending $6.2 billion in our priority areas of this looking at $2.5 billion in resilient and sustainable water infrastructure, $500 million in expanding in high speed broadband, $800 million for investments to provide stability for state and local governments, $800 million for attainable housing and community development, $910 million for economic development, business assistance, skilled workforce and talent, $500 million for healthy safe people, families and communities. Our goal to achieve this was for all organizations to advocate for this funding by using social media, events, visiting with legislators to tell our story and the need for this type of investment in our state. All of this hard work paid off with our state legislature passing and our Governor signing the bill of $4.7 billion of investments to clean up and protect our water, overhaul outdated water infrastructure, fund state and local parks, repair roads and bridges, remove lead pipes, expand broadband internet and more. This was a major win for water and wastewater utilities as they will see investments in the industry in the next couple years. The water industry received $515 million for wastewater and stormwater upgrades, $750 million for drinking water infrastructure improvement projects, $50 million for drinking water filters in schools and childcare facilities, $88.2 million to address emerging contaminants, $35 million to address failing septic systems and $138.8 million to replace lead service lines. The rural water grassroots effort in DC shows how in your own state coalitions can work to accomplish similar goals. Our coalition is continuing forward in 2023.
Additional: During this time we continued our advocacy at the federal with our water rally visits with our members of Congress advocating for our funding for NRWA and informing of what we were doing in-state to advocate for the water and wastewater industry. We continue to advocate by providing information that is geared specifically for each Congressional District and encourage any member when back home to tour a small system to see the challenges they face.