U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA; Erie Mayor Joe Schember; Paul Vojtek, CEO of Erie Water Works; and Autumn Anderson, Governor Shapiro’s Deputy Director for Critical Investments, announced on Wednesday at City Hall a multimillion-dollar investment in Erie’s infrastructure.
Of the announced $30.5 million in federal grants and loans to Erie that were part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in 2021, $6 million in Round 3 funding will accelerate the Erie Water Works’ removal of 5,400 lead service line connectors in the City. Erie Water Works CEO Paul Vojtek expects this project to be 85% complete by 2025.
While the City is in full compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lead and copper standards, Erie Water Works is committed to removing ALL lead connections. “What we’re looking for is Round 4 funding that will enable us to ‘get the lead out’ of our water system,” said Vojtek.
Sen. Casey says elected officials must provide these infrastructure upgrades.
“This is a giant step in the right direction,” said Sen. Casey. “Any public official in a Commonwealth like ours has a constitutional duty to provide that kind of funding for basic infrastructure. Clean water is a right.”
Mayor Schember was grateful as well as reflective about the Erie projects that Sen. Casey has supported.
“Under President Biden’s and Senator Casey’s leadership,” said Mayor Schember, “and in conjunction with the hard work of my team, since I came into office in January 2018, the federal government has provided funding for City of Erie projects and initiatives totaling more than $145 million. The addition of this $30.5 million is an incredible investment in the City of Erie that will benefit residents within the City and the surrounding communities,” said Mayor Schember. “Thanks to Senator Casey, Governor Shapiro, PennVest, and the Erie Water Works team, we will continue to Transform Erie and leave a legacy for the future.”