U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Ga., filed two infrastructure bills that her office said are aimed at addressing suburban infrastructure needs this past week.
The Solar Use Network Act, which is also called the SUN Act, and the Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act are part of Bourdeaux’s “FutureFit the Suburbs” infrastructure agenda.
“The SUN Act and the Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act are win-wins: innovative, forward-looking policies that tackle environmental issues in a fiscally-responsible manner,” Bourdeaux said in a statement.
The SUN Act would change federal codes to let states install solar panels in highway medians that could produce energy which can be used to charge electric vehicles.
Meanwhile, the Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act would let the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency create a grant program to help local governments purchase or develop clean water technology innovations, such as water level and algae bloom monitoring sensors.
Bourdeaux’s office pointed to Gwinnett County’s under construction water innovation center, The Water Tower at Gwinnett, as a project that could benefit from the grant program.
“The SUN Act will take an existing resource — unused land by the side of interstate highways — and convert it into a valued community asset, by allowing for the installation of renewable energy and charging infrastructure,” Bourdeaux said. “The Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act will harness the power of technology to ensure that all Americans have access to clean water. ”
Melissa Meeker, who is the CEO of The Water Tower at Gwinnett, praised the Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act proposal.
“The Water Tower is focused on working with tech providers and water utilities to apply cutting-edge to technologies designed to increase efficiency and safety,” Meeker said. “One of the main obstacles is funding. We are in full support of the Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act which would create a grant program to give public utilities the resources they need to acquire smart technologies — technologies that can detect algal blooms and pollutants and ensure the delivery of clean water to communities.”