Biden Travels to Philadelphia Bearing $500M for Water Upgrades
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Friday afternoon to announce $500 million has been allocated to the city’s water upgrades and lead pipe removal.
According to senior White House officials, about $160 million of that total will be allocated through the bipartisan infrastructure law and will be used to upgrade city water facilities and replace up to 20 miles of lead service lines.
The remaining $340 million is a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation loan which will be administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and will be used to upgrade Philadelphia’s water system.
The trip to the City of Brotherly Love caps a week in which the president repeatedly traveled the New York to Washington corridor to kick off infrastructure projects.
The president traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, on Monday to announce bipartisan infrastructure law funding to replace the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, a structure that opened during the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.
The project is eligible for up to $4.7 billion in funding, out of a total $24 billion the bipartisan infrastructure law sets aside for rail improvements along the Northeast Corridor.
The total cost of the project is expected to come in at around $6 billion.
On Tuesday he traveled to New York to announce $292 million in bipartisan infrastructure law funding to complete a critical early phase of the Hudson Tunnel Project.
The money is part of $1.2 billion in mega grants being awarded under the 2021 infrastructure law.
Appearing with the president and vice president Kamala Harris at Friday’s event are EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Gov. Josh Shapiro, Sen. John Fetterman, Sen. Bob Casey, Rep. Dwight Evans, and Mayor Jim Kenney, all Democrats.
In addition to the funding for Philadelphia, officials are slated to announce that 10 communities across Pennsylvania will participate in the EPA’s new “Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators” program, an initiative announced last Friday at the White House.
Through the LSLR Accelerators initiative, EPA will provide “hands-on support” to guide communities through the process of lead service line removals, from start to finish, including developing lead service line replacement plans, conducting inventories to identify lead pipes, increasing community outreach and education efforts and supporting applications for bipartisan infrastructure law funding, the White House said.
Last week Harris hosted a summit along with Regan to announce a series of new initiatives to accelerate progress replacing lead pipes.
In addition to EPA’s Accelerators, Harris announced a new Get the Lead Out Partnership composed of over 100 state and local officials, water utilities, labor unions and other nongovernmental organizations that have committed to advance and accelerate lead pipe replacement, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Harris also sent a letter to governors across the country calling on them to join the new partnership, deploy the federal funding available in their state, and ensure investments reach overburdened and underserved communities.
Later Friday night, both the president and the vice president are slated to deliver remarks at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting currently being held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Hotel.