Trying to jump start the passage of her Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act, Klobuchar brought federal and local leader together in Worthington to push for accelerated construction of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.
The project will bring potable water to communities in Southwestern Minnesota, Northwestern Iowa and Eastern South Dakota.
In Walz, Klobuchar visit Worthington, Daily Globe staff reporter Ryan McGaughey reports:
“There are still nine communities that are not hooked up,” Klobuchar said after the meeting. “Senator (Max) Baucus, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has a bill I’m co-sponsoring that will jump start the second phase of this project and a couple of others that are in similar situations.”
“We really need to join forces with a couple of other projects to get this moving forward.” she added.
The water system project, which dates back to 1990, was authorized by Congress in 2000 and signed into law with a federal cost share of $270 million. Yet, even though participating entities have already contributed nearly all their cost share of more than $153 million, the designation of Lewis and Clark as an earmark has drastically reduced funding from Washington in recent years.
“At this rate … we’re scheduled to be done in 2070, and that makes no sense to me,” Walz said Monday. “Why are we authorizing other projects when this hasn’t been completed?”
Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh sent a letter in February to Michael Connor, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation that triggered the meeting, the Globe reports. Bring fresh water for people and animals will spur the local economy. The article concludes:
Walz said he hopes to ultimately help bring forward a bill that would serve as House companion to the bill Klobuchar is co-sponsoring. He said the LCRWS project “has been run smartly” and, regarding the way it was coordinated 12 years ago, was emblematic of “the proper role of state, local and federal government.”
Now, however, federal spending priorities are clearly misguided, he said. For instance, a portion of what the U.S. spends each day in Afghanistan would complete Lewis and Clark.
“If this were argued in court in front of 12 jurors, we’d win this case every time,” Walz said.
KELOLAND Television out of Sioux Falls, SD covered the meeting in Feds, Communities Talk Lewis And Clark Funding.
Photo: The meeting in Worthington. Photo by Dale Moerke.