The City of Jackson will receive $20 million to support its water system as part of a continuing resolution to fund the government through December that the U.S. Senate approved Tuesday. The vote comes after a month rife with turmoil for the Mississippi capital city, where residents were without running water or safe drinking water for weeks.
Mississippi’s two Republican U.S. senators, Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker, voted in favor of the resolution.
“I support providing additional resources to help the city of Jackson address its water infrastructure needs,” U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said in a statement on Tuesday. “The $20 million included in this funding legislation would build on the initial $5 million provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I recognize this funding will not be enough to address the long-standing water infrastructure issues in Jackson, but this is a good start.”
Jackson officials have estimated that the cost to fully repair the many issues afflicting the capital city’s dilapidated water infrastructure could cost well over $1 billion. U.S. House Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat whose congressional district includes most of Jackson, told Politico earlier this month that he wanted the federal government to send $200 million to Jackson for its water system.
The City of Jackson and the State of Mississippi are facing pressure from the federal government to fix the majority-Black capital city’s water system after decades of neglect. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened legal action to force changes and the NAACP filed a complaint against the State of Mississippi, accusing it of racial discrimination over the water crisis.
The Associated Press also reported Tuesday on a pattern of state officials, including former Gov. Haley Barbour and then-State Treasurer Tate Reeves, making it more difficult for the majority-Black capital city to access state financial assistance to repair water problems in recent decades. That story cited Jackson Free Press reporting of that history.
See the Mississippi Free Press’ full Jackson water crisis coverage since March 2021.