Rep. Tonko Kicks Off Northeast Water Systems Tour in Wilmington, DE
NY Capital Region Congressman spotlights chronic under-investment in America’s drinking water systems
"It is past time for the U.S. government to make bold investments in our hidden infrastructure. If we don’t act now, the price tag will continue to rise and crises like the one in Flint could become much more common." - Rep. Paul Tonko
ALBANY, NY – Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20) kicked off his U.S. Water Systems Tour today with a visit to the Wilmington Department of Public Works in Wilmington, DE where he met with public officials and toured the city’s water filtration plant.
“We know that every life and every job depends on water,” said Rep. Tonko. “Without access to clean, safe drinking water our families and communities will suffer and our economy would grind to a halt. This is not just a challenge for New York State or Washington, D.C. America’s drinking water systems are failing. Many of them are more than 100 years old, and most state and local governments simply cannot keep up with need. It is past time for the U.S. government to make bold investments in our hidden infrastructure. If we don’t act now, the price tag will continue to rise and crises like the one in Flint could become much more common.”
The visit and broader multi-state tour are meant to raise public awareness about the need for greater federal investment in America’s struggling public water systems, a goal that could be pursued initially by adopting Rep. Tonko’s AQUA Act.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki welcomed Rep. Tonko and expressed strong support for the visit: “Like many older cities in the northeast, Wilmington has an aging water and sewer infrastructure system that requires constant repairs, replacement and upgrades. Additional federal and state funding opportunities would enable our water utility to continue to make improvements while keeping rates affordable for our customers. I am delighted that U.S. Representative Tonko is here to learn more about our water system and to understand the infrastructure funding challenges we face. Wilmington welcomes the Congressman and his staff to our City.”
Sean Duffy, Water Division Director for Wilmington Department of Public Works, also responded to the visit saying, “We struggle in our own City as much as utility professionals do around the country to drive home the point that our water and sewer infrastructure is both precious and fragile at the same time,’ said Duffy. It is refreshing to know that Congressman Tonko understands the peril that could result if we don’t fund our water and sewer systems properly. We thank him for his visit.”
Rep. Tonko met with Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn earlier in the day.
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