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Congressman Dan Kildee Hosts Roundtable Focused on Water Infrastructure in America

December 7, 2017
Press Release

Nationwide Kildee Initiative Seeks to Change the Way Congress Invests in America’s Cities and Towns

WASHINGTON – Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), the co-chair of the Congressional Urban Caucus and Vice Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, hosted a forum Wednesday in Washington, D.C. focused on how Congress must make critical investments to improve America’s water infrastructure system, including replacing lead pipes to protect public health. The forum is part of the Congressman’s ongoing “The Future of America’s Cities and Towns” initiative to better align local, state and federal policies with the unique challenges facing older, industrial communities.

The forum included remarks by Kildee and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05), the Vice Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Other panelists included Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards, who helped to expose the Flint water crisis, as well as experts from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Bipartisan Policy Center. The panelists provided their perspective on the current state of America’s water infrastructure and opportunities to update and invest in water infrastructure systems.

From left to right: Dr. Marc Edwards, Michele Nellenbach, Congressman Kildee, Congresswoman Esty and Brian Pallasch participate in a forum on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

“Congress needs to make critical investments in our nation’s outdated infrastructure. This means not only seen infrastructure—our roads, rail, bridges and ports—but also unseen infrastructure, including water pipes and drinking water systems,” said Congressman Kildee. “The water crisis in my hometown of Flint is a tragic example of what happens when we fail to invest in our nation’s older cities and outdated infrastructure. I am proud to hold this important conversation with Congresswoman Esty, a leading voice in Congress to make greater investments in infrastructure projects across the country,” said Congressman Kildee.  

“We need to focus our attention on upgrading our water infrastructure to keep families healthy in Connecticut and throughout the country,” Congresswoman Esty said. “The water crisis in Flint showed us in stark terms what can happen when we allow pipes to corrode and lead to seep into our water supply. But water quality is a major issue in Connecticut as well. Poor water quality has jeopardized our fisheries and limited our recreation opportunities, putting a major drag on our economic growth. I will continue working with Congressman Kildee, as well as my colleagues in both parties, to develop pragmatic, cooperative solutions aimed at tackling our water infrastructure challenges on a national scale.”

The Future of America’s Cities and Towns is an initiative launched by Congressman Kildee to highlight the many challenges that cities and towns across the U.S. face regarding infrastructure needs, economic development, housing, blight and jobs in the modern economy. The initiative calls for a national strategy on how Congress invests in American cities and towns.

The first roundtable included Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters (CA-43), and focused on the unique challenges facing many older, industrial cities and towns. The second roundtable focused on economic and community development financing and included Vice Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Brian Higgins (NY-26).

Congressman Kildee also recently spoke at the TrustBelt conference in Des Moines, Iowa, and other events hosted by the Urban Institute and National Leagues of Cities in Washington, D.C., all on his new initiative and the need to focus on investing in older, industrial cities and towns.