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Flint mayor: Congress hasn't given "one thin dime" to help

Aug 4, 2016

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver's first State of the City address was a positive speech, full of expressions of gratitude -- and one pointed rebuke.

Weaver took pains to look on the bright side, while acknowledging that the city will be dealing with its damaged infrastructure and the after-effects of lead poisoning in kids for decades to come. 

"We have seen incredible compassion from people and organizations all across the country," said Weaver, "who have sent money, bottled water, and other resources to Flint."

But not everyone has pitched in, said Weaver.

"And that's especially true when it comes to the United States Congress," she said, "which left for its annual recess without committing one thin dime to help overcome one of the nation's most horrendous water disasters. The 100,000 residents of Flint must not be a priority."

The U.S. House recessed for the summer without moving on a $765 million aid package, sponsored by Congressman Dan Kildee.

The U.S. Senate also left without acting on a smaller $220 million aid package sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.

Weaver calls Flint the "canary in the coal mine," since many other cities in the nation have aging water systems, but if Congress acts, "Flint could become a model for the nation"  in how to develop a 21st century, state-of-the-art infrastructure.

Weaver says there are signs that Flint is on the way up, despite the crisis.  The long-abandoned Chevy in the Hole site will become a community park, Atwood Stadium is being renovated, as is the Capitol Theatre.

Flint has applied for a SAFER grant, which would allow the city to hire 33 additional police officers.  And a $20 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will pay for a renovation of the Saginaw/Dupont/Atherton blocks of the city.