(Washington, DC) Today, as part of Infrastructure Week, Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by White House Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, as well as members of the DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force, community leaders, and local and federal government officials for a tour of transformative projects focused on making Washington, DC more connected, equitable, and sustainable. The tour began at a DC Water lead pipe replacement project, which is part of a comprehensive strategy to remove all lead service lines by 2030. Mayor Bowser then led a community walk across a section of Interstate 295 to emphasize the need to reconnect communities once divided by highways. She then concluded with a ceremonial bond signing for the DC Smart Lighting Project, which will upgrade the entire 75,000 streetlight network throughout the District.
“With the Biden-Harris Administration’s support, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our infrastructure – to better connect our city, to build a more resilient and sustainable DC, and to address equity issues that were built into our roads, and bridges, and pipes decades ago,” said Mayor Bowser. “Last year, when we cut the ribbon on the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, we demonstrated what is possible when local and federal governments work together on big infrastructure projects. Now, we have a lot more big ideas – some that we’re already implementing and some that with the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we will finally be able to bring to life.”
During the three-part event, Mayor Bowser highlighted projects that will be supported through increased funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill was signed into law on November 15, 2021.
“Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re going to have an Infrastructure Decade,” said White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “We’ve hit the ground running and have already announced over $800 million in funding for the DC since the law was signed. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild roads and bridges, replace lead pipes, help provide high-speed internet to every family in America, deliver cheaper and cleaner energy to households and businesses, and produce concrete results that change people’s lives for the better, including right here in nation’s capital.”
As part Lead Free DC, DC Water is replacing lead service lines on public and private property across Washington, DC. DC Water is currently doing block-by-block replacements, which uses both water quality data and social equity factors to prioritize projects and remove service lines. To date, 70% of customers on the b-block projects under construction have signed agreements to patriciate in projects. To support this work, in 2019, Mayor Bowser launched and funded the Lead Pipe Replacement Assistance Program, which provides full or partial financial assistance to eligible residents for the replacement of lead service lines in the District.
“Our Lead Free DC program exemplifies the community benefits of the Biden Administration’s unprecedented investment in water infrastructure,” said David L. Gadis, CEO & General Manager at DC Water. “This infusion of federal funding will allow us to greatly expand and accelerate the work we are doing to rid our neighborhoods of lead service lines, employ District residents and ensure everyone has equitable access to clean water.”
“Making rapid progress toward President Biden’s goal of removing all lead service lines across the nation is a priority for EPA,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “We should celebrate every lead pipe that is removed, like we are doing today, because it means that a resident no longer has to worry if their water is safe and it means we are one step closer to achieving this bold goal.”
After touring the DC Water project, the Mayor led a walk across the Parkside Pedestrian Bridge to highlight capital projects that allow for residents to safely cross I-295 and to hear from experts from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) who discussed additional opportunities to connect communities on either side of the highway. In January, Mayor Bowser announced the largest federal investment ever in the District’s bridge network — the dedication of $225 million over five years from the Federal Highway Administration’s bridge program through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Biden Administration also previously announced that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established a new Reconnecting Communities Pilot to reconnect communities once separated by highways or other transportation facilities.
“I am very pleased to be working alongside Jan Adams and members of the DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force. At the Mayor’s invitation, we have come together to lay the groundwork for the District's infrastructure for many years to come,” said Secretary Rodney Slater, co-chair of the DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force. “This is a very exciting time.”
“Our Mayor has put together an elite Task Force of personnel who has a vested interest in improving the infrastructure of and bringing more jobs to the Nation’s Capital. It’s an honor to work alongside Sec. Slater, who has a proven track record of significant accomplishments,” said Jan Adams, co-chair of the DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force. “We want to hear your ideas!”
At the final stop of the day, the Mayor held a ceremonial bond signing for the DC Smart Lighting Project, the nation’s largest urban streetlight modernization project which will convert all of the District’s street and alley lights to energy-efficient LED technology with remote monitoring and control capabilities. Earlier this year, and eight years after then-Councilmember Muriel Bowser introduced the Public-Private Partnership Act of 2014, the DC Council approved a $309 million contract with Plenary Infrastructure DC (PIDC) to deliver the project. The DC Smart Lighting Project represents the District’s first Public-Private Partnership and is supported with $160 million financed through the DC Revenue Bond program, which was made possible because the District received an allocation of Private Activity Bonds from U.S. Department of Transportation. As a public-private partnership (P3), PIDC will finance the project costs, allowing the District to complete the upgrades within two years as well as maximizing long-term energy savings and environmental benefits.
Throughout Infrastructure Week, Mayor Bowser is highlighting investments in infrastructure and initiatives focused on building a more connected, resilient, and equitable DC:
- On Monday, Mayor Bowser announced the Community Internet Program, a new initiative that will give Internet Service Providers (ISPs) free access to District-owned building rooftops if they commit to providing high-speed connections (200 Mbps up/200 Mbps down or higher) at reduced or no cost to households eligible for President Biden’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Their antennas will also serve as a neighborhood hubs that will be able to feed internet to residential properties – all at no cost to DC.
- On Tuesday, Mayor Bowser highlighted progress in expanding access to solar energy through DC Green Bank and announced that, since its launch in 2018, DC Green Bank has now committed more than $12 million to community and residential solar projects serving low-to-moderate income residents in the District. DC Green Bank reached the $12 million milestone with two recent loan closings—including a $7 million deal that is the DC Green Bank’s largest. In addition to energy savings, the two deals will provide hundreds of District residents a fair shot through construction job opportunities.
- Later this week, Mayor Bowser will celebrate new housing and amenities along the Anacostia River with a groundbreaking for The Stacks and Bridge District. The Mayor will also celebrate the Business Improvement District’s (BID) annual Bike to Work Day by leading a bike ride with community members and speaking at the Franklin Park pit stop, the District’s largest Bike to Work Day pit stop. And, on Saturday, Mayor Bowser will join residents for the District’s first Open Streets event in Ward 8.
In March, Mayor Bowser announced the creation of the DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force, which will advise on priority projects to be funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Task Force is made up of experts from District agencies and external partners who will ensure the District’s effectiveness in securing and deploying federal dollars while creating projects that will impact residents across the District and generations of Washingtonians to come.