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Duckworth highlights clean water portion of federal infrastructure law

Sen. Tammy Duckworth talks about the federal infrastructure law.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth talks about the federal infrastructure law.(Mike Miletich)
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 7:31 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Illinois will receive $17 billion from the infrastructure plan President Joe Biden signed into law this week. Sen. Tammy Duckworth says the state will quickly see the effects of this plan.

The Gray TV Illinois Capitol Bureau spoke with Duckworth about a portion of the law that she is most proud of.

You’ve likely seen or heard people talk about issues with lead pipes in Illinois for years. State lawmakers passed a plan earlier this year to remove those pipes. Duckworth continued that effort by pushing for the water infrastructure portion of the new federal law.

Most lawmakers and policy experts can tell you Illinois has more lead water pipes than any other state. Duckworth said the state has 23% of all the lead pipes in the country.

Of course, Illinois also has a long backlog of water infrastructure projects that only need funding to move forward. The state will now receive $1.7 billion to address outdated infrastructure for drinking and wastewater.

“You are going to see these water projects happening right away,” Duckworth said. “I would think at the very beginning of next year even. So I’m very happy that we were able to get this done and that the water infrastructure was such a big part of it.”

Most of the state’s lead pipes are in Chicago and suburban Cook County. However, Duckworth noted that many minority communities across Illinois also deal with this problem.

People can also expect to see thousands of new jobs created by the infrastructure law. Duckworth said the plan would help many people get good-paying union jobs for construction, engineering companies, and manufacturing.

Minority and women-owned businesses will get top priorities for contracts and procurement for the projects included in the $1.2 trillion plan.

Still, Duckworth said the Senate must pass the Build Back Better initiative as well. A huge component of that plan is making sure Americans can return to work without worrying about child care.

“We’re going to invest in building more child care centers so that parents who work outside the home can actually find child care for their children. And if you have a 3 or 4-year-old, there’s going to be universal Pre-K as well,” Duckworth said.

She stressed the infrastructure law was critical to creating new jobs, but the Build Back Better plan ensures the support system is there for families. Duckworth said lack of child care is one of the biggest reasons people haven’t returned to work, especially in the service industry.

The House passed the Build Back Better bill Friday morning on a 220-213 vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hopes Democrats can pass the plan out of their chamber before Christmas.

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