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Flint leaders urge Congress to pass federal funding for water crisis before end of year

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Money from Congress could help pay to replace old lead water lines in Flint.

Congress returns to D.C. this week to begin a three-week-long lame duck session.

Congressman Dan Kildee says funding for Flint is at the top of his list of things to get done before the end of the year.

“We’ve really been working on this for almost the entire year to get Congress to take action, and until we get it done it continues to be my number one priority,” Kildee said.

The funding could help pay to replace thousands of lead service lines damaged because of the water crisis.

“We’ve started replacing those lead service lines but we have nowhere near enough funds to be able to do the job that needs to be done,” Mayor Karen Weaver said.

So far, Flint has replaced about 500 pipes. It has about $25 million from the state, which will cover an estimated 5,000 lead service lines. The city believes it will need to replace an additional 20,000 after that.  

Kildee wants to see the federal government pitch in too.

Kildee doesn't think the election will impact funding for Flint. He says it’s likely to pass with bipartisan support, possibly as part of a spending bill needed to keep the federal government open. That must pass by December 9th.

“There are things that we still have to do before the end of the year, before the new Congress and the new administration come in. This is one of them and I expect that we’ll get it done,” Kildee said.

Weaver says the city is trying to retain and attract residents and businesses “and until we get our water situation taken care of, until it’s addresses that’s a difficult thing to do.”

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