WARREN – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) and local leaders hosted an event today to highlight the work that House Democrats have done to get Washington working For The People again by making bold, innovative investments in rebuilding America’s infrastructure and raising family wages. Building trades members also had the opportunity to discuss the importance of bringing federal investments back to Rhode Island during a coffee break conversation with Cicilline.
“When House Democrats took office earlier this year, we promised to fight every day to get Washington working For The People by passing legislation to get big money out of politics and create a level playing field so everyone has a fair chance get ahead,” Cicilline said. “That means fixing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and fighting to raise the incomes of hardworking families right here in Rhode Island. The first 200 days of our majority has proven to be one of the most productive in history, including passing 50 major pieces of legislation to give power back to the people who sent us to Washington in the first place. I want to thank the state and local officials, key stakeholders, and members of the building trades who attended today’s event for their suggestions on what else we can do to make our state a better place to call home.”
The setting for the event was the Town of Warren Wastewater Treatment Facility, which is nearing completion of a $20 million upgrade through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) managed by Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. The project will improve water treatment and increase the facility’s resiliency to severe weather events and sea level rise.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides grants to states to capitalize state CWSRF loan programs. The states contribute an additional 20 percent to match the federal grants. In 2019, Rhode Island’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds received more than $21.6 million in federal funding for improving drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. In 2014, Congress revised the CWSRF program by providing additional loan subsidies, including forgiveness of principal, in certain instances. Green elements of the Warren project allowed the Town to receive approximately $450,000 of principal forgiveness, reducing the overall cost of the project.
“State and federal funding was crucial in helping us to make our Wastewater Treatment Facility both environmentally friendly and resilient to the conditions that we expect to face in the next 40 years, which includes rising seas and more severe weather patterns,” said Kate Michaud, Warren’s Town Manager. “The time to prepare is now and federal support is vital to ensure that taxpayer investments are cost effective and sustainable and that public facilities can continue to meet the needs of the people.”
“The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank catalyzes investments in cities and towns across the State to upgrade critical infrastructure that results in a higher quality of life for their residents,” said Jeffrey R. Diehl, Executive Director and CEO of the R.I. Infrastructure Bank, who was also in attendance at today’s event. “Local infrastructure investments continue to have a positive impact by saving our communities, consumers and businesses money while creating jobs, increasing economic development and protecting the environment.”
In the first 200 days since Democrats assumed the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, they have passed legislation to:
- Raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $15/hour;
- Eliminate workplace discrimination that sees women working full time earning, on average, only 80 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make;
- Provide $1 billion for National Infrastructure Investments;
- Invest $500 million in Airport Improvement Grants to help rebuild America’s outdated airports;
- Fund $48.9 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, including $1.75 billion for Highway Infrastructure Programs to continue updating crumbling roads and bridges across the country;
- Provide $3 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, including $350 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements, $350 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair, and $2 billion for Amtrak, $700 million of which is designated for Northeast Corridor Grants;
- Increase funding for the Federal Transit Administration to $13.5 billion, including $750 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants; and
- Counteract the President’s proposed cuts to the Maritime Administration by providing $1.1 billion in funding, including $225 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program.
Cicilline has made bringing federal funding back to Rhode Island one of his top priorities in Congress. Working with fellow members of Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation, state leaders, local officials, and outside organizations, Cicilline has successfully brought home crucial federal investments including:
- $60 million for RIDOT improvements to the Northbound Providence Viaduct on I-95;
- $2.8 million for RIDOT efforts to expand Amtrak service to T.F. Green;
- $7.5 million for RIEMA to improve the state’s preparation for and recovery efforts in the wake of emergencies and natural disasters;
- $518,538 to help a local shipyard expand its workforce and reinvest in Rhode Island’s economy; and
- $2 million to provide low-income families with support services for infants, toddlers, and pregnant women through Early Head Start.