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June 04, 2021

Bourdeaux Introduces New Smart Infrastructure Legislation

WASHINGTON — Today, United States Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07) introduced two new pieces of innovative infrastructure legislation, the Solar Use Network (SUN) Act and the Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act. Both pieces of legislation fall under Congresswoman Bourdeaux’s “FutureFit The Suburbs” agenda to implement smart, fiscally-responsible, policy solutions to address pressing infrastructure needs in the suburbs. 

The SUN Act would amend the federal code to allow for more effective use of interstate rights-of-way to support renewable energy projects. This legislation would enable innovative initiatives, such as the installation of solar panels in highway medians to provide energy to charge electric vehicles. Not only would this take previously unused space and make it an asset to communities, but it also has the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions, diversifying our energy supply, and fostering the creation of a local green job market. 

The Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act would authorize an Environmental Protection Agency grant program to allow public utilities to purchase innovative clean water technology, such as sensors to monitor algae blooms and water levels. Gwinnett County is currently building a center of excellence around clean water technology through The Water Tower. This grant program complements those efforts. These technologies modernize water networks, lowering upfront costs and ongoing operating costs, and can improve the delivery of safe and reliable water supplies. 

“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,” said Congresswoman Bourdeaux. “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. The Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act will harness the power of technology to ensure that all Americans have access to clean water. ”

“Unlocking interstate right-of-way (ROW) projects is a win-win for local governments and State Departments of Transportation’s by optimizing underutilized land to generate clean renewable energy that benefits their communities, the environment, and their budgets. With our pollinator friendly solar megawatt at Exit 14 on I-85 in west Georgia, The Ray has brought ROW solar to the forefront of highway innovation, and now we are ready to work alongside agencies across Georgia and the Nation to transform the thousands of acres of interstate roadside suitable for solar development,” said Allie Kelly, Executive Director, The Ray.

“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. 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,” said Melissa Meeker, CEO, The Water Tower at Gwinnett. 

The SUN Act and the Wastewater Infrastructure Modernization Act were introduced as part of Congresswoman Bourdeaux’s FutureFit The Suburbs initiative, focusing on the infrastructure needs of inner and outer suburbs. The initial launch contains four planks: the National & Regional Greenways Act, the Build Up the Suburbs (BUS) Act, an initiative on Abandoned Mall Upcycling, and an initiative on a National Infrastructure Bank.

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Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, an economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure. 

Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford.