U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) applauded the collaborative work and Recovery Act funding that made possible today's celebration of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System treatment plant. Johnson, who has worked tirelessly over the years to support the project, was unable to attend the ribbon cutting because he is helping care for his wife. Barbara Johnson recently fractured her shoulder and her wrist.
"This stands as an example of regional cooperation that will address common challenges in a more effective way than each state or local sponsor could do alone," Johnson said in a message delivered during the ceremony. "I look forward to continuing to work with you all to ensure we keep this critical project moving forward so all of the member communities in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa can enjoy the benefits of economic growth and improved quality of life."
"The Recovery Act dedicated a record $56 million to this project. For those construction workers and the communities now receiving water, this is a prime example of how stimulus dollars have benefited our region," continued Johnson.
Over the years, Johnson has worked to secure millions of dollars for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System. With a ban on Federal earmarks, Johnson has worked to find innovative ways to allocate funding for important projects such as this.
Recently, Johnson pushed a plan that would provide $80 million in mandatory annual funding for authorized rural water projects like the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System through the Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act. The Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act would establish the Reclamation Rural Water Construction Fund within the Bureau of Reclamation. Each year from 2014 through 2029, the Treasury would deposit $80 million into the Fund from money that would otherwise be put into the Reclamation Fund. That money would be available without further appropriation for construction activities on authorized rural water projects, providing much greater certainty to the projects.
"I hope today's celebration will reiterate how vital rural water projects are to our state," said Johnson. "I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure we complete Lewis and Clark."