Governor Greitens announced his Rural Growth Plan to use newly available funds to bring more jobs and opportunity to rural Missouri. The package focuses on clean water initiatives, rural broadband and infrastructure improvements to ports. Perhaps most significant for North Central Missourians is the $10 million he is supporting for the construction of the East Locust Creek Reservoir that is held in the Multi-purpose Water Resource Fund (MWRF).
The MWRF was a dormant statute that the East Locust Creek Reservoir Project Team helped to “stand-up” for use at East Locust Creek Reservoir (as well as other projects in the future). It was slightly altered by former Senator Lager and given priority by Senator Dan Hegeman and Representative Nate Walker. The MWRF is enabling legislation that will allow the State to join with the Commission in servicing the debt on a USDA-Rural Development loan. The $10 million represents more than 2/3 of the debt service needed and addresses, the “local-side” match to the federal construction funds that are available. The funds remove a giant hurdle to constructing the East Locust Creek Reservoir.
The Rural Growth Plan will still need to go through the legislative process, but having the Governor’s strong endorsement and support is incredibly, incredibly helpful and indicates that, indeed, the East Locust Creek Reservoir is a top priority for the State of Missouri.
The new funds are available due to the unexpected federal reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. State funds had been set aside to supplement the possible loss of federal funding—and the reauthorization creates an unexpected $80 million investment opportunity over the next two fiscal years.
The section below is taken straight from the Governor’s Media Release.
This proposal recommends $17,665,000 for water initiatives—to build the necessary infrastructure to ensure clean water access in rural communities and attract more jobs to these areas.
- Little Otter Creek – $4,000,000
- Tri-State-Stockton Lake – $330,000
- St. Robert Waste Water Treatment – $3,335,000
- Multipurpose Water Resources Program – $10,000,000”
Governor Greitens asked for comments from area leaders that are represented below.
Rick Gardner, Chairman, North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission: “The announcement of water infrastructure funds comes as great news to the Commission and to the ten counties we propose to serve from the East Locust Creek Reservoir. North Central Missouri has suffered under the threat of drought for decades.
Placing this much funding toward water infrastructure and our project is the most significant commitment that the State has made in decades.
We are all grateful to the Greitens Administration, his Departments and to our many friends in the General Assembly who have listened to us, cheered us on and, once again, step to the fore to provide us real assistance.”
Brad Scott, General Manager, North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission: “The East Locust Creek Reservoir project has benefitted from the bi-partisan support of this desperately needed project over the past few years, but this announcement of standing-up and funding the Multi-purpose Water Resources Fund shows far-sighted leadership that will have a lasting impact on Missouri.
Every door to the Greitens Administration has been opened to us and we are grateful to him and to his outstanding team. The East Locust project has also benefitted from outstanding support and leadership from the General Assembly over the past few years and we are so grateful to them.”
Randy Railsback, Executive Director, Green Hills Regional Planning Commission: “This is a great day for those who have worked for decades to bring attention to current and impending water shortages in Missouri…and it comes in the midst of a drought. Green Hills has been a part of both the East Locust Creek and the Little Otter Creek project that will help tens of thousands of Missourians. This announcement represents a real and tangible step toward solving the water shortages in Missouri that so many of us have advocated for. We are grateful to the Greitens Administration, his Departments and to the General Assembly.”