Home Water fund Warren County Supervisor Shawn Jackson speaks out on infrastructure bill – The Vicksburg Post

Warren County Supervisor Shawn Jackson speaks out on infrastructure bill – The Vicksburg Post

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District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson walked out of the Supervisory Board working session earlier on Monday.

She did so in order to virtually attend a White House press briefing on the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed last Friday. For Jackson, attending the briefing was all about understanding how Warren County could potentially benefit from the bill.

“For Warren County, it will be huge if we get it right,” Jackson said. “One of the biggest incentives is for leaders and elected officials to identify and champion transformation projects. “

According to the Associated Press, the bill would provide $ 110 billion to repair the country’s aging highways, bridges and roads. According to the White House, 173,000 miles in total, or nearly 280,000 kilometers of US highways and major roads and 45,000 bridges, are in poor condition. And the nearly $ 40 billion for bridges is the biggest investment dedicated to bridges since the construction of the national highway system, according to the Biden administration.

Jackson said she was optimistic that some of those funds would be used to improve roads in and around Warren County. As the county opened discussions about funding for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) last month, she said it was important to note that ARPA cannot be used for infrastructure projects – instead, the newly passed bill will be the ticket.

“We have a lot of bad roads and bridges in our community. We have bayous that need to be fortified, ”she said. “But we also have other major projects that we need to tackle in Warren County. There are water improvements. There is waterfront development, port development; things that we know we have to work on, but we have to find a way to fund them.

Under the Infrastructure Bill, the bill would spend $ 55 billion on water and sanitation infrastructure. It has $ 15 billion to replace lead pipes and $ 10 billion to combat water contamination with polyfluoroalkyl substances – chemicals that have been used in the production of Teflon and have also been used. in fire fighting foam, water repellent clothing and many other items.

The $ 65 billion in broadband legislation would aim to improve Internet services for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities. Most of the money would be made available through state grants.

Now that the infrastructure bill has passed, the question remains: how will the funds get to the local level?

“At least 100 programs will be launched with the passage of the infrastructure bill,” Jackson said. “Water, roads and bridges, rails are all included, among other projects. Some of the money will come locally through the applications that we make and then of course there will be different groups that will ask for changes to be made.

“Yesterday some groups were advocating direct allocations to local city and county governments, which is especially exciting for places like Warren County. “

Much like ARPA, Jackson said she hoped the county would provide an opportunity for residents to reach out to their elected officials to voice concerns and apply for projects. So far, 70 requests for ARPA funds have been submitted to the Warren County Board of Supervisors. The Board of Directors reviews these requests and determines the criteria under which it can award a portion of the more than $ 8 million received from ARPA.

“The federal government has made it clear that it expects us to involve the community and determine where the needs are. And the county did it, ”Jackson said. “I am so happy that we literally took the first wave of a fine tooth comb. While we cannot meet these needs with ARPA, we do know about them and can hopefully meet them with other funds.

Above all, Jackson said, receiving these funds is a unique opportunity for communities across the country – an opportunity that will result in “total overhauls” in some areas, but also an opportunity that will require collaboration and responsible decision-making. . at local level.

“As more money opens up, we win when we use that pocket money responsibly,” she said.

While the full amount of funds the county will receive from the infrastructure bill remains to be seen, Jackson has given his expectations some perspective.

“The city received just over $ 4 million and the county just over $ 8 million from ARPA. The infrastructure bill is $ 1.2 trillion… imagine the implications for Warren and Vicksburg County of that amount, ”she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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