Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester are going to bat for Montana's rural water infrastructure by introducing a bill to guarantee funding for rural water projects.
"Bringing clean water to more Montana families supports agriculture and good-paying jobs for the long haul. This bill is a good balance to responsibly invest in our clean water infrastructure and I'll keep fighting to get these projects completed," said Baucus.
"Upgrading our water infrastructure creates jobs and delivers clean water to our rural communities," Tester said. "This long-term investment in our rural water infrastructure is important and will make sure rural America doesn't get the short end of the stick."
About the Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act (S. 3385):
Ø Smart Investments: The bill establishes an $80 million guaranteed annual pool at the Treasury Department for funding eligible rural water projects.
Ø Doesn't Add to Deficit: The bill forbids the Treasury Secretary from transferring funds if it would add to the deficit.
Ø Supports Montana Projects: The immediate Montana impact means Rocky Boy's/North-Central Water Project and the Fort Peck/Dry Prairie Project can now compete for guaranteed funding set up by the legislation. The Dry-Redwater Project, which is nearing completion of a required feasibility study, would also likely qualify.
Ø Serves energy-impacted communities: The Fort Peck/Dry Prairie Project and Dry-Redwater Project serve rural Montanans in the middle of the Bakken region. Clean, affordable drinking water is critical for a growing population with more housing and industrial water needs. Infrastructure investments are a cornerstone of Baucus' ongoing Call to Action in the Bakken.
Many Montana water systems are decentralized, aging and expensive to repair, relying on support from local, state and federal funding sources. The bill is designed to allow eligible Montana rural systems to have streamlined access to more funding to complete projects that will lower water costs for Montanans. Prior to the bill, rural projects had to rely on a piecemeal appropriations process that made it difficult to plan long term projects.
In February, Baucus and Tester announced nearly $13 million for Fort Peck/Dry Prairie and Rocky Boy's/North Central Rural Water Systems in Montana.