The mayor of Jackson, Miss., Chokwe Antar Lumumba (D), said on Sunday that federal infrastructure funding is “insufficient” to address “30 years of deferred maintenance and accumulated challenges” associated with the city’s water system.
During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” moderator Margaret Brennan noted that Jackson received $42 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) last year, adding that President Biden stressed during the signing of the bill the importance of preventing a reoccurrence of water crises in cities such as Jackson and Flint, Mich.
“We have committed the grand majority of our ARPA funds towards our infrastructure, not only at the water treatment facility, but distribution lines,” Lumumba told Brennan. “We’ve spent $8 million on one pipe alone to South Jackson, which is disproportionately affected. It is also critical for people to know that the city of Jackson didn’t get $42 million at one time, merely a little over a month ago, we got our second tranche of the funds.”
Lumumba told Brennan that his administration is committing the “overwhelming majority” of the city’s funding to address the current water crisis.
“However, it is insufficient to meet the great need of 30 years of deferred maintenance and accumulated challenges,” he added. “And so it will take a coordinated effort on not only the local state, but federal levels as well.”
Lumumba’s remarks come after Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) declared a state of emergency last month for areas, including Jackson, that were hit by major flooding. The city’s 150,000 residents were left without potable water to drink.
During a press conference last week, Reeves said that he is open to numerous long-term options in an effort to restore Jackson’s water system, noting that transferring the system to a private company is “on the table.”