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2017 State of the State: Infrastructure Mentions

It's that time of year again... Governors across the nation are making State of the State speeches to set their vision and policy agenda for 2017.

Curious how they’re prioritizing infrastructure? Reforming how projects are funded? Planning on upgrading our water infrastructure and repair our roads/bridges? BAFEF created this webpage to serve as a one-stop-shop for any infrastructure-related mentions.

As of January 10, 2017:

Alabama

Governor Robert Bentley (R)

February 7

Link to speech:  http://governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/2017/02/2017-state-state-address/

“Listening to and focusing squarely on the needs of our counties and cities, in 2012 we launched the state’s largest investment in roads and bridges in the history of Alabama.  The Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, or ATRIP, is a resounding success.  The First-of-its-Kind Infrastructure programs a hallmark of this Administration and the tremendous cooperation we enjoy between state and local governments.  Since the project first began five years ago, you’ve seen across our Great State hundreds of roads improved and dangerous bridges replaced.  Those orange barrels on county roads, asphalt pavers on highways and Alabama workers manning equipment to replace crumbling bridges are the results of ATRIP, Alabama’s Infrastructure Success Story.

There are over 11-hundred ATRIP projects, totaling nearly 1 point 2 billion dollars on schedule for your local communities.  These are projects specifically requested from local governments.  Already over 700 projects have been completed.

“…When bureaucracy grinds government to a halt, ATRIP has been an answered prayer for communities.  Just ask Marshall County about the Redmill Bridge.  The dangerous bridge was the site of fatal car crashes.  It was an impediment to the local economy heavily dependent on local poultry farms.  Chicken trucks couldn’t even turn on the road, blocking access to farms and serving as an obstacle to greater overall economic development.  Like many of you have seen in your local districts, it was one of those projects everyone wanted and the community desperately needed yet no one in Marshall County thought they would ever see in their lifetime.  Beginning in 2015, our Administration joined with the locals and together last month we celebrated the completion of the largest Marshall County project ever.”

Alaska

Governor Bill Walker (R)

January 18

Link to speech:  http://gov.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/Governor-Walker-State-of-the-State-January-18-2017.pdf

“A healthy construction industry is critical to Alaska’s economy.  This coming season, we will see over a half-billion dollars’ worth in construction projects already awarded.  Another nearly Half-billion dollars’ worth in construction projects will likely be bid this year.  While we have reduced State funding of construction projects, we are working hard to maximize federal dollars for bid-ready projects.  This investment will employ hundreds of Alaskans in the construction industry.”

Arizona

Governor Dough Ducey (R)

January 9

Link to speech:  http://azgovernor.gov/news/2017/01/watch-arizona-state-state-address

“By working with our citizens these last two years and across the aisle, with civility and respect – we’ve seen what’s possible for Arizona.  Positive outcomes in our schools.  Safe communities.  A more reliable water future that allows us to thrive in the desert.  And an economy that embraces innovation.”

Colorado

Governor John Hickenlooper (D)

January 12 

Link to speech:  https://www.colorado.gov/governor/news/gov-hickenlooper-delivers-annual-state-state-address-1

“Over the next decade, Colorado has $9 billion of unmet transportation needs, and that need will only grow.  Voters are tired of us kicking the can down the road, because they know it’s going to land in a pothole.” 

“…….We’re already squeezing every penny out of our transportation revenue but efficiencies can only get us so far.  With the gas tax unchanged since 1992, more fuel efficient cars and normal inflation:  it’s basic math.  It’s a funding problem.  We’ve had this debate for too long.  If talk could fill potholes we’d have the best roads in the country.  But the General Fund cannot adequately support the demands of core government services and capacity improvements in transportation.

There are some who believe we can pay for our infrastructure needs through cuts alone.  But that can only happen if we demand major sacrifices from Coloradans.  If that’s what you want, introduce that bill.  Make that case.  Tell us who loses healthcare or what schools have to close to add a mile of highway.  Coloradans share our desire to make these investments.  They know our future economy demands a modern infrastructure.  Let’s examine all our options.  Whether it’s new revenue, simplifying or replacing old tax streams, or a combination of both.  We can find a solution that clearly spells out to Coloradans exactly what they’re getting and how the money will be spent.  And how that funding can benefit rural and urban communities, support local needs and statewide projects, and balance transit options with highway expansions.  Lincoln once said:  I am a firm believer in the people.  If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.  This great point is to bring them the real facts…and beer.”  Let’s decide what we take to the voters in November, and let’s make our case to the public.”

Connecticut

Governor Daniel Malloy (D)

January 3

Link to speech:  http://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/Press-Room/Speeches/Governor-Dannel-P-Malloys-2017-State-of-the-State-Address

“We are also improving our transportation system as we speak, thanks to the investments we’ve made together.  The on-time and on-budget completion of the Q Bridge project means that, on a daily basis, 140,000 motorists are getting to where they need to go with greater ease.  And with CTfastrak, more people are riding Connecticut transit buses to work.  Exceeding all initial projections, average ridership on CTfastrak is as high as 19,000 people per weekday.”

Indiana

Governor Eric Holcomb (R)

January 17

Link to speech:  http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=256053&information_id=254288&type=&syndicate=syndicate

“My second pillar is a sustainable plan to fund our roads and bridges for the next 20 years.  We’re able to drive the goods we produce and grow to 80 percent of the nation’s population within 24 hours.  For Indiana, The Crossroads of America is more than a motto.  It’s a mission.

I will work with you to establish a plan that preserves what we have, finishes commitments we have made, and invests in the new projects for the future that ensures Indiana remains The Crossroads of America.  These include projects in every quadrant of our state:  upgrades of US 30 from Ft. Wayne to Valparaiso, and 31 to South Bend, additional lanes on I-70 and I-65 from Jeffersonville to Crown Point, and completing I-69 from Evansville to Ft. Wayne.  When it comes to paying for these projects, I’m open to a menu of options.  The fact is, existing sources of revenue are just not keeping up. 

Now, I’m a believer that every time you ask a taxpayer for a dollar, you better be darn sure you need it and are going to use it effectively for its intended purpose.  And here’s a case that if we ask Hoosiers to invest a little more, to meet the need, the return is going to be well worth it – for them, for our communities, and for our economy.  In addition to roads and bridges, we must invest in other infrastructure projects that will further separate us from our competition. 

That’s why I’m asking you to authorize funding to strengthen our connection to our country and the world.  This includes tacking the South Shore Line to improve access for Hoosiers who travel between Northwest Indiana and Chicago and incentives for more direct flights to better connect Hoosiers to national and international markets.  These will save us both time and money – but they’re also a critical part of our efforts to attract talent and business to mutually grow. 

As I think about the future, it also includes adding a fourth “water” port in Southeastern Indiana, which will help accelerate economic development and play to our strength in that beautiful part of our state.  We also have the responsibility to maintain and strengthen our basic infrastructure that is critical to our communities and our people and yet is showing the strain of age.  This may not be sexy but it has to be done.  We will pay special attention to our water needs and ensure we have a plan that’s efficient, sustainable, and affordable as we move forward.”

Iowa

Governor Terry Branstad (R)

January 10

Link to speech:  http://kwqc.com/2017/01/10/watch-live-governor-branstad-gives-the-2017-condition-of-the-state-address/

“Last year I called on the Legislature to send me a water-quality improvement bill.  I was pleased to see bipartisan progress made on this front with the House passing House File 2541 last session.  The bill was approved by the Agriculture, Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees and passed the House with 65 votes.  This bill provided for a long-term, dedicated and growing source of revenue to help implement projects to improve habitat and water quality directed by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.  The bill also provided funding for community conservation practices and improvements to wastewater and drinking water facilities.  By leading on this issue, together we have the opportunity to modernize Iowa’s agricultural infrastructure, create jobs in rural Iowa and promote collaboration between urban and rural communities.”

Maryland

Governor Larry Hogan (R)

February 1

Link to speech:  http://governor.maryland.gov/2017/02/01/2017-state-of-the-state-address/

“Two years ago Maryland had crumbling roads and bridges and some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation.  Now, thanks to our unprecedented investments, we are finally moving forward on the top priority transportation projects in every single jurisdiction all across the state.  We are fixing all 69 structurally deficient bridges that we inherited.

We currently have 1,073 transportation projects under construction all across the state.  It is historic and unprecedented.  This much-needed progress is strongly supported by an overwhelming majority of Marylanders.  But we risk eliminating much of that progress and 66 of the 73 highest priority projects in nearly every jurisdiction.  So, I ask again today, on behalf of the people of Maryland:  please do not stand in the way of these critical transportation projects.  Let’s repeal this misguided, poorly drafted, and totally flawed Road Kill Bill.”

Massachusetts

Governor Charlie Baker (R)

January 24

Link to speech:  http://www.mass.gov/governor/press-office/press-releases/fy2017/governor-delivers-second-state-of-the-commonwealth-address.html

“MBTA’s historic failure during the winter of 2015 laid bare the vital need for a complete overhaul.  But never forget the T always had the money, but it lacked the capacity to turn its resources into an action plan – to deliver the safe and reliable transportation system that our people deserve.  The Fiscal and Management Control Board, management team and staff at the T cut the MBTA’s operating deficit in half.  These significant savings, along with existing funds are being used to double the T’s investment in core infrastructure.  While a lot of great work has been done in the past 18 months, anyone who rides the T will correctly tell you, we still have a long way to go.  Everything that breaks is at least 50 years old.  Making the investments in tracks, signals, switches, power systems and vehicles will take years, not months.  But we finally have the team on the ground and the plan in place to get the job done.”  

Michigan

Governor Rick Snyder (R)

January 17

Link to speech:  http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-74857_78766-401909--,00.html

“That ties right in with infrastructure.  We know this is a huge challenge not just in Flint, but we saw what happened in Frasier with the sink hole.  We are at risk in every corner of Michigan for aging infrastructure and we cannot take this for granted.  Michigan residents deserve safe, reliable, sustainable infrastructure.  That’s why I created the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission last year.  The commission did tremendous work, they looked for best practice not just in our country but around the world.  They concluded that we need to invest more.  We literally need to invest billions of dollars of new investment over the next several decades.  We need to look at all public and private sources for this, including fees, taxes, grants, bonds.  We need to start now working on this issue and we need to stay committed to it.

Now I’ve talked about a huge investment but we can be smarter about how we invest, so one of the things I want to work with the legislature on is creating a pilot and working hard on is something they found is integrative asset management.  Now that’s a really fancy word but it’s really simple.  Think now about the road in front of your house or your business. How often have you seen that road get torn up to do road work and then it gets repaired and it gets torn up to do gas work or electric work or fiber beam laid and how many times does it get torn up when we could tear it up once and do that work all at once to a tremendous savings.  That’s the kind of smart thing we can lead in Michigan and we would be a national leader in that.  On water quality we need to improve.  We learned that from the Flint situation and I’m excited to be proposing a stricter standard than the federal government for the lead and copper rule.  We need a better rule.  That was part of the problem.  It needs to have lower acceptable levels, it needs to have better testing protocols.  It needs to have better notification and it needs to have better public input.  So I look forward to working with the Legislature on that.

In terms of infrastructure, though, one area we really need to work at the national level, our top priority in terms of ask of the federal government should be the Soo Locks.  We need a second 1,000 foot lock.  It was actually authorized by Congress back in 1986 and the money was never appropriated.  Our entire economy in this country is at risk with having only one lock.  Homeland Security has said that themselves.  The US Department of Treasury actually came out with a recent study showing it could be a huge economic boom to have a second lock and we need to make that a priority and I will in terms of discussions with the President and Congress and I appreciate your support.”

Mississippi

Governor Phil Bryant (R)

January 17

Link to speech:  https://www.periscope.tv/w/1BRJjVvBVjeJw

“So now we have a decision to make.  How do we generate sufficient revenue to maintain and keep safe the roads and bridges that our economic life line and not pace an undue burden upon the working people of this state?  Both Joe and I have offered a recommendation.  There is no reason we cannot balance an increase in the fuel tax with an equal and sufficient tax reduction.  This tax cut does not need to apply to large corporations.  They are and have been receiving the reduction in fuel cost for some time now.  It is the working families of Mississippi I am concerned about.  I have full confidence in your ability to find this common ground.  I will be working with your leadership to help do so before this session ends.”

Montana

Governor Steve Bullock (D)

January 24

Link to speech:  http://governor.mt.gov/Newsroom/ArtMID/28487/ArticleID/5581

“We can celebrate the infrastructure investments we have made, despite the disappointments of last session.  Over the past four years, the Department of Transportation has let 449 projects worth nearly $1.2 billion to improve our transportation infrastructure.  Montana workers have fixed over 3,000 miles of highways.  We have put people to work in 70 communities to deliver clean drinking water and upgrade sewage treatment plants.  We’ve improved, repaired and replaced 18 bridges, upgraded facilities in 37 schools, constructed 18 affordable housing projects, and helped fund buildings on six of our campuses – a total of over half a billion of infrastructure investments since 2013.  This is progress, but there is more we can do.  I have proposed a $292 million investment in our bridges, local roads, sewer and water systems and schools.”

“…..I, like most Montanans – care about results.  So please, join me in undertaking the hard work of getting something to my desk that we can all agree upon.  Because when we fail to invest in infrastructure, we fail Montana.  As Territorial Governor Thomas Francis Meagher exhorted in 1866: ‘The broken state of the roads, no doubt, prevented the other returns from coming up in a reasonable time.’  Let’s not make that mistake this session.  Let’s instead craft a bipartisan infrastructure proposal, let’s make sure we fund our state share of highway projects, and make these some of the first bills to reach my desk – not the last.”

Nebraska

Governor Pete Ricketts (R)

January 12 

Link to speech:  https://governor.nebraska.gov/press/governor-ricketts-state-state-address-0

“Chairman Curt Friesen and I are also working to merge the Department of Roads and the Department of Aeronautics into the Department of Transportation.  Among other things, these efficiencies will allow us to put more money into runways and roads without sacrificing jobs. “

Nevada

Governor Brian Sandoval (R)

January 17

Link to speech:  http://nvleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?event_id=17211

“With Nevada’s rapid growth comes infrastructure needs.  We have begun construction of the first phase if I-11, the Boulder City Bypass, expected to be completed by 2018.  But it can’t stop there.  We are completing preliminary work that will continue the I-11 project from Las Vegas to Reno, and we must work with our federal delegation to pursue the funding necessary to complete this important infrastructure project.  In Washoe County, the Spaghetti Bowl is another interchange that is beyond capacity, resulting in too many accidents and extended commuter delays.  We are working with local and regional agencies to finalize a traffic study by the end of this year and, once finalized, we will commence plans to build an interchange that allows residents and visitors to move more efficiently through the Truckee Meadows.

Most of you know that one of my top infrastructure priorities has been Project Neon in Las Vegas, the largest public works venture in Nevada history.  It expands the state’s busiest stretch of highway and, once completed, Project Neon will improve the daily commute for our residents and enhance the travel experience for the millions of visitors who come to Las Vegas.  We’ve made great progress on this project and I look forward to working with our legislative and local leaders to complete it by 2019, on time and on budget.”

New Mexico

Governor Susana Martinez (R)

January 17

Link to speech:  http://www.governor.state.nm.us/uploads/PressRelease/191a415014634aa89604e0b4790e4768/Governor_Susana_Martinez_Delivers_State_of_the_State_Address_2.pdf

“Let’s invest in big projects like water infrastructure or our roads and highways.  In San Juan County, for example, lawmakers pooled their capital funds and made critical improvements in their wastewater system.  And in Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties, legislators invested in transportation infrastructure.  Those projects will benefit the communities for decades, create jobs and lay a foundation for economic growth.”

New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D)

January 9

Link to speech:  https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-photos-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-delivers-his-2017-state-state-speech-new-york-city

“We must continue our investment in building the infrastructure that will support 21st century economies.  New York has lived off its inheritance for too long.  We must build for tomorrow or other states and countries will continue to pass us by. 

Mass transit will enable our sustained growth.  This year we will build a faster and better subway system with 1,200 new cars, dozens of rehabbed and modernized subway stations, and 20 rebuilt commuter stops.  And let’s give Tom Prendergast, chairman of MTA, a big round of applause for the good work he is doing.  We are building a new LaGuardia and last week we announced a $10 billion plan for a new John F. Kennedy airport.  We will be announcing other important infrastructure projects statewide this week.”

North Dakota

Governor Doug Burgum (R)

January 3

Link to speech:   https://www.governor.nd.gov/sites/governor/files/video/2017-StateOfState-Transcript.pdf

“True long-term property tax reform requires that we reduce the cost of local government. This is why one important aspect of our cross-cutting Main Street Initiative will be focusing on utilizing our current infrastructure to its fullest potential so we can reduce the root cost of local government.

Regardless of population, our city budgets are driven significantly by their linear feet of curb, gutters, sidewalks, roads, sewer, water. The length of overall infrastructure drives the cost of snowplowing, street maintenance, garbage collection and police and fire coverage. It also drives the number of stations, water towers, arterial streets and interchanges.

Repeatedly across the state, the construction of a new school on the outskirts of a metro area has resulted in huge long-term ongoing costs to deliver city services. Yes, how we design and grow our cities has a huge impact on property taxes.

With better design, we can create great opportunities for private sector investment, keep property taxes in check and attract the talent we need for the 21st century. Because it takes more than great jobs for us to compete today. It takes safe, healthy cities with vibrant, walkable main streets and downtowns to attract and retain a skilled workforce.  That’s why Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford and I will be partnering with mayors and city commissioners from across the state to ensure that the Main Street Initiative provides all interested communities the tools, programs and empowerment for smart, healthy growth.”

Oklahoma

Governor Mary Fallin (R)

February 6

Link to speech:  https://www.ok.gov/governor/documents/2-6-17%20%20FINAL%20Governor%20Fallin%20State%20of%20the%20State.pdf

“Next, for decades we’ve talked about how gasoline and diesel taxes should go to roads and bridges.  My tax reform plan does that.   My plan will ensure taxes associated with roads and bridges are the funding source for maintenance of roads and bridges, - period – returning individual income taxes to the General Revenue Fund.  This plan does not impact the projects in the Department of Transportation’s 8-year plan.

Oklahoma currently ranks 48th in diesel tax and 49th in gasoline tax.  I am proposing a new revenue stream by increasing our gas and diesel taxes to the regional state average, but still below the national average.  By trading out the use of individual income tax to a gas and diesel tax dedicated to fund our roads and bridges, this budget change dramatically improves the percentage of revenue collections the Legislature could control.  As we’ve discussed for decades, let’s put the fuel taxes into roads and bridges.”

Oregon

Governor Kate Brown (D)

January 9

Link to speech:  http://www.oregon.gov/gov/media/Pages/speeches/Inaugural-010917.aspx

“I believe, however, there is an opportunity to create jobs right now.  That opportunity is in the 135 bridges we have on our coast.  Experts tell us that 100 or so of those bridges will be either totally destroyed or severely damaged in the event of the major earthquake that many geologists believe is inevitable.  Let’s create more good-paying, family-wage jobs in Coos and Curry Counties and all along Highway 101 by investing in seismic retrofitting of our coastal roads and bridges.

Just like seismic retrofitting creates jobs on the coast, it can also create economic opportunity in Central and Easter Oregon.  I have heard from truck drivers who are starting to use U.S. 97 as an alternative route to avoid the traffic congestion we are facing in the Portland metro region – congestion that has led to metro commuters spending 52 more hours a year in their cars.

U.S. 97 is also the alternative route through our state in the event of that major earthquake.  It is a crucial artery for safety that can also create jobs.  Let’s make the investment to make U.S. 97 functional right now.

Improvements to coastal bridges and Highway 97 are just parts of a transportation package that I have been working on with legislators and community and business leaders.  And I am confident that before this session adjourns, this Legislature will have passed, and I will have signed into law, a bipartisan transportation package that will move Oregon forward in the 21st century.

But it will take more than a transportation package to bring economic opportunities that will help rural Oregon thrive.  It will take investments in our water.  In the Umatilla Basin, we’ve shown that getting water out of the Columbia River and onto the ground helps grow crops, which, in turn, helps grow jobs.  That’s why my budget includes $32 million in bond funding in grants for local water projects, which will help meet the needs of rural communities, agriculture, and the environment.”

Rhode Island

Governor Gina Raimondo (D)

January 17

Link to speech:  http://www.governor.ri.gov/newsroom/speeches/2017/state-of-the-state.php

“Our infrastructure is stronger.  Last year, we passed the most comprehensive infrastructure program in recent history.  It’s no secret that our roads and bridges are some of the worst in the country.  But now, because of Rhodeworks, we’re fixing our highways.  By the end of this year, we’ll have started or completed repairs on nearly 120 bridges:  a visible sign that we are rebuilding Rhode Island together.  And in the process, we’re putting thousands of Rhode Islanders to work in good jobs that don’t require a college degree.”

South Dakota

Governor Dennis Daugaard (R)

January 10

Link to speech:  http://sd.gov/governor/docs/2017%20State%20of%20the%20State.pdf

“Of course state infrastructure is not confined to buildings.  We also have transportation infrastructure, and over the past six years, we have made great progress in this area as well.  We have refurbished two significant stretches of state-owned rail line.  In 2014, you appropriated $7.2 million in general funds to upgrade the state-owned line from Chamberlain to Presho.  We also provided grants from the Future Fund and the state rail fund and received a federal TIGER grant.  Because of this upgrade, Wheat Growers constructed a $50 million grain handling facility in Kennebec, which was completed this fall.  In addition, we upgraded the Britton line, aided by a Future Fund grant and a loan from the state rail fund.  This line runs from Aberdeen into North Dakota and connects shippers to both the Canadian Pacific Rail line and the Burlington Northern line.  As a result of this upgrade, the Wheaton-Dumont Elevator and the United Grain Corporation built a $40 million state-of-the-art facility on the Britton spur.  That facility opened this fall and is shipping grain today.  Both of these upgrades have created more shipping and selling options for farmers, created jobs in rural areas, and added significant grain handling facilities to the property tax rolls.

We are also making major investments in our highways.  One example is Highway 100 in Sioux Falls.  A major phase of this multi-year project will let bids this summer to connect this new urban corridor to I-90 west of Brandon.  That phase of the project should be completed by 2019.  We have also provided aid to local government infrastructure.  Two years ago, we created the Bridge Improvement Grant Fund, which is now granting millions each year to reduce the backlog of necessary repairs to local bridges.”

Virginia

Governor Terry McAuliffe (D)

January 11

Link to speech:  https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=18925

“We took great strides forward on transportation, undertaking significant projects in high-traffic corridors across Virginia like I-95, I-64 and I-66.  We passed the Smartscale prioritization process so that decisions are based on data about the benefits to taxpayers and our economy, not backroom deal-making.  After several disastrous public-private partnership deals that cost Virginians hundreds of millions, we transformed the process and brought a taxpayer-first approach to negotiating these deals. 

The results of our efforts are clear.  If we had followed the old process, the I-66 outside-the-beltway project could have cost taxpayers $1 billion.  By reforming our system and strengthening how we negotiate, the final deal will not require Virginians to invest one single tax dollar.  And, the winning consortium has agreed to include an additional $800 million in private funding for transit, $350 million in corridor improvements, and a $500 million payment to the Commonwealth at closing.  Our reforms and leadership resulted in a $2.5 billion turnaround on this one project alone. 

We won a $165 million federal grant for the $1.4 billion Atlantic Gateway Project, which will unlock travel and commerce on road and rail all across the Commonwealth.  We returned the Port of Virginia to financial solvency and made record investments to position the Commonwealth as a leader in global trade for generations to come.”

West Virginia

Governor Jim Justice (D)

February 8

Link to speech:  http://www.governor.wv.gov/News/press-releases/2017/Pages/Full-Transcript-of-2017-State-of-the-State-Address.aspx

“And the other last thing I will talk to you about is I’ve got to have ten cents a gallon on gasoline.  Now, I am telling you:  If you don’t do this, yu’re dead.  You’re dead beyond belief.  “

Wyoming

Governor Matt Mead (R)

January 11

Link to speech:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6oHXm9jOVzPUTR5MmtnbW45YmM/view

“The State Water Strategy was issued two years ago.  The Water Strategy contains ten initiatives.  One of the initiatives is the 10 in 10 project, which seeks to build ten new reservoirs in ten years.  While I know it’s ambitious, we’ve come a long ways, and I’m pleased to say the Omnibus Water Bill you’ll consider this session has four of these 10 in 10 projects; the Big Sandy Reservoir Enlargement in Sublette and Sweetwater Counties, the Big Piney Reservoir in Sublette County, Alkali Creek Reservoir in Big Horn County, the Leavitt Reservoir Expansion in Big Horn County.

Water projects like these are funded separately from government operations, education, and school construction and maintenance.  These funds generally come from Water Account III, which is accumulated over the years and has the funding available.  Together these projects would add over 31,000 acre feet of storage of our most precious natural resource, and that is water.  Water is key to economic development, ag production and more, and water development must remain a priority.