One step forward, two steps back for Lewis & Clark Regional Wate - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

One step forward, two steps back for Lewis & Clark Regional Water System

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VERMILLION, SD (KTIV) -

When the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System was dreamed up 24 years ago, officials would have told you the pipeline would be laid by now.  Ten years after construction first started, the project still has at least another decade to go.

That's despite learning Monday, that they are going to get an additional $5 million.

First, they found out Congress had increased funding for the project this year. Then, they say they learned that the Obama Administration proposed a cut in funding for next year.

Tuesday afternoon, the president released his proposal of fiscal year 2015.

In it is $2.4 million for the pipeline project, which is designed to help rural communities have better access to clean drinking water and also grow business.

The project's executive director said the president’s proposal isn't even enough to keep construction going.  Troy Larson said the president’s left them high and dry.

"The $2.4 million he's proposing is really a kick in the gut. It's an absolute travesty that the president talks about the importance of critical infrastructure, yet when it comes to his funding priorities, they don't match his words,” said Larson.

Officials are hoping Congress intercedes like they did on Monday, restoring the bulk of the federal funding for this fiscal year.

Although $27 of the $29-million was put back in for projects like Lewis and Clark, it only got a small share of that money.

"Unfortunately we were expecting more of that $27 million dollars as was our tri-state delegation. They worked very hard to secure that, and it's disappointing that out of $27 million that was secured by our tri-state delegation, only $5 million was directed toward Lewis and Clark," explained Larson.

That $5 million combined with the $3.2 million that was already allocated this year paves the way for five more miles to be constructed in Minnesota this summer.

It's the only state, of the three involved in the project (Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota) that hasn't seen any of its communities hooked up.

They've still got another 65 miles to get to Sibley, Iowa, the final town on the timeline.

At five miles a year, they've still got another 13 years to go.

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