Tester pushes Senate to better support rural water projects

Senator: Investing in rural water now saves taxpayers money in the future

(U.S. Senate) – After Congress last month finally agreed to a bipartisan budget deal that prevents devastating across-the-board spending cuts, Senator Jon Tester is pushing the Senate to support water projects that could mean life or death for communities in rural Montana.

Tester, in a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), pushed for increased funding for rural water projects like the Fort Peck-Dry Prairie Rural Water System and the Rocky Boy’s-North Central Montana Rural Water System. Tester’s letter comes at a time when Congress is working to craft appropriations bills that comply with the new budget agreement.

“Providing adequate funding in the near term helps advance construction on the projects, which saves taxpayer dollars over the long term,” wrote Tester, a senior member of the committee. “I strongly urge you to increase funding for construction for these water projects.”

Tester was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation who supported the bipartisan budget deal last month that lifted the budget caps to allow Congress to provide responsible investments in rural water projects.

In his letter, the Senator pointed to a 2014 Bureau of Reclamation report that states if Congressional support for rural water projects is not increased, some of the currently authorized projects would not be completed for another 50 years.

Tester this spring introduced a bipartisan bill that establishes a guaranteed annual investment to construct eligible rural water systems.

Tester’s letter to Chairman Cochran and Ranking Member Mikulski is available online HERE.