Mar 17, 2020

$87 Million for Flint Water Crisis Still Unspent

EPA says Flint, Michigan's $87 million for Flint water crisis still hasn’t been spent

drinking water

More than $87 million in federal funds appropriated for fixing Flint’s infrastructure after the city’s lead in water crisis has not been collected. 

According to the U.S. EPA, this is because there have been so few reimbursement requests from the city.

A top EPA official advised Mayor Sheldon Neeley and Liesl Eichler Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, of the untouched funds in a Feb. 27 letter.

A letter from an EPA official, Acting Water Division Director Thomas R. Short Jr., urged the city to “advance the schedule of remaining projects in order to complete work during the project period of the grant which ends Dec. 31, 2021.”

This comes three years after the agency awarded $100 million in supplemental Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to the state to address water infrastructure in Flint, reported MLive.

Congress previously approved the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which provided for the funding, and required an additional $20 million state match. The $20 million match was required to be spent before the federal infrastructure funds were tapped, according to MLive.

“While this administration can’t change the delays that happened prior to our taking office, we are expediting the work as much as possible so that we can continue to move our city forward,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley in a statement released by the city.

This letter is not the first instance in which the agency has urged the city and state to speed up infrastructure work.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee believes the reimbursement process needs to be improved and the city “needs more capacity” to move the projects along.

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