Tester addresses Rural Water Systems conference

Senator: ‘Strong water infrastructure boosts Montana’s economy’

(GREAT FALLS, Mont.) – On Thursday, Senator Jon Tester said strengthening the Big Sky State’s water infrastructure and providing rural Montana families with clean water will create jobs and boost the state’s economy.

Tester discussed clean water and water infrastructure while addressing the Montana Rural Water Systems Annual Conference in Great Falls. He said while Washington, D.C., has tough budget decisions coming up, investments in clean water drive economic development in rural America.

“My message in Washington is this: smart investments in rural America are not wasteful spending,” Tester told the audience. “Investing in clean water, in roads and bridges, builds stronger rural communities that grow, create jobs, and turn challenges into opportunities.”

Tester said the 2009 Recovery Act was a “perfect example” of how smart investments create jobs while improving Montanans’ quality of life. He also vowed to continue fighting for assistance for the state revolving funds that support water and wastewater projects and make sure families and small businesses have access to clean water.

“Small businesses can grow only if Montana has good infrastructure,” Tester said. “We have to continue fighting so rural America doesn’t get the short end of the stick. Everybody – including me – wants to balance the budget, but we’ve got to make smart decisions that make sense and don’t hurt rural America.”

The Recovery Act invested in the USDA’s rural development initiative to bring clean water to towns such as Darby, Whitehall and Twin Bridges. It also invested in the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Montana Rural Water Systems is a nonprofit organization that provides free training and technical assistance to rural water users. Tester delivered his remarks before about 1,000 people.