In Michigan
4:45 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Labor coalition calls on feds to repair water infrastructure

Lansing, MI – Construction workers say Lansing's water infrastructure needs a major overhaul. They're calling on Congress to allocate more funding to fix the city's storm water and sewer system. They say it's both a matter of public safety and economic development.

Members of the Laborer's International Union of North America want Congress to spend more to improve Lansing's combined storm and sanitary sewer system. Despite years of upgrades, the city's aging pipe network frequently spills human waste into the Grand and Red Cedar rivers after a heavy rainfall.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says raising the money through a city-led bond issue is not a good option.

"I just don't have the appetite for more big indebtedness; I don't want to see us go into insolvency," Bernero says. "This needs to be a partnership between state government, federal government, and that's what the president has offered."

Bernero is urging Congress to act on proposed legislation that would protect water resources and create jobs. Unionized construction workers say they have the manpower to do the work, but many of their members are unemployed.