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Letter: Legislators did good job with Lewis and Clark funding

On behalf of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System's Board of Directors, staff and the more than 300,000 people in the tri-state region who will benefit from this project, we express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the tri-state congressional delegation, including Congressman Tim Walz and Senators Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar, for their hard work in securing funding increases for the project.

The $30 million in the Senate and the $25 million in the House put us in a much stronger position than last year as we work toward the funding needed to keep construction on schedule. Compared to last year's number of $28 million in the Senate and $22.3 million in the House, these increases are significant given an ever tightening budget and the disappointment of starting at zero with the Administration's proposed budget. The funding increases demonstrate not only the incredibly strong support and leadership of our congressional delegation, but also how important it is to complete this critically needed project in a timely manner.

Along with the three states pre-paying, most of the local members have also pre-paid their share of the project. In many cases the cities and rural water systems pre-paid millions of dollars a decade or more before water will be delivered, trusting that the federal government will come through with its portion of the cost share. We have a long way to go before the money is in the bank, but the funding increases provide confirmation that the members' trust has not been misplaced.