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All over the country, old stormwater systems struggle to keep up with increased rainfall due to climate change. Rising sea levels and groundwater — also from climate change — squeeze the systems from the other end. Infrastructure like roads, hospitals and wastewater plants need to be shored up against flooding. Residents need protection from heat, wildfire, floodwater, and other climate impacts.
All of that is expensive. The good news for local governments tackling these problems is that lots of state and federal money is out there to fund resilience projects. The recent federal infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act are adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the pot.
But Grist has found there’s also bad news: The money is often hard to actually get, and that difficulty can amplify inequities for communities that need help the most.