More Bad News For Lewis & Clark Water System Funding

Date posted - February 16, 2012

More bad news funding-wise for an area water project.

A few days ago we told you about the Lewis and Clark water system that is to provide Missouri river aquifer water to many tri-state area communities — and that they have received $5 million of a $30 million allocation. The rest is to be split up among other water projects in the U.S. The Bureau of Reclamation divvyed out the funds because due to the earmark ban, Congress wasn’t allowed to split it up. Executive Director of the water project, Troy Larson expressed his opinion projects should not be subject to the earmark ban. The money that we were talking about then was for fiscal year 2012.

Just a few days later — this past Monday, Feb. 13, President Obama released his proposed FY13 Budget, which included $4.5 million for L&C. The FY13 Budget wont be finalized until late 2012 or early 2013.

Larson says their engineers have provided an estimate that if inflation is hypothetically the same in 2012 as it was in 2011 (That’s 4.47% as calculated by the Bureau of Reclamation), that means the price tag for the remaining federal cost share will increase by approximately $8.5 million. While an improvement over the $493,000 the President proposed for L&C in the FY12 Budget, this means the $4.5 million only covers a little more than half of the inflation. The taxpayers will fall roughly $4 million further behind.

Larson says if this funding scenario were to continue, the project would never be finished.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

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