$170 million federal funding package for Flint, communities affected by lead
(12/15/16) - Congress passed an agreement on Saturday to provide $170 million in long-awaited assistance for Flint and other communities affected by lead.
The agreement passed the Senate by a 78-to-21 vote as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN Act).
It provides access to $100 million in funding to help fix Flint's drinking water infrastructure. The city will be in charge of how that money is spent.
ABC12 News asked Mayor Karen Weaver if her team is ready to handle the funding.
"Actually later on today we are going to sit down and start putting this plan together. We want to figure out what do we already, what do we have in place, what information do we need and how quickly can we get it to people. We are ready and we have been waiting," Weaver said.
It will also provide funding to activate at least $20 million in low-interest loans to upgrade water infrastructure in communities in Michigan and across the country.
Fifty million dollars will address the health care needs of children who have been exposed to lead and it gives the authority for the State of Michigan to forgive $20 million in past drinking water loans to Flint.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha says a chunk of the money allocated for health resources will further develop a registry to track Flint's kids for decades. She says that means making sure they're getting the medical resources available.
"We want to wrap our kids around with every resource possible, but it's hard to reach all families. Not everyone has Internet access or transportation access and we recognize those really incredible burdens that families face and we want to minimize those burdens. Let's get these kids everything because these kids deserve everything," Hanna-Attisha said.
It also adds a requirement that the EPA is to warn the public within 24 hours of high lead levels in drinking water if a state fails to do so.
"Flint needs a lot more help and the state of Michigan needs to step up," said
Congressman Dan Kildee.