Buoyed after a meeting with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, members of Minnesota's congressional delegation and Gov. Mark Dayton are confident they'll land more federal funding for a project that could provide relief to water-starved southwestern Minnesota communities.
Dayton, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Reps. Collin Peterson and Tim Walz huddled Wednesday with Jewell to discuss the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, which could pipe treated water to 300,000 people across Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota.
Dayton and legislators recently allotted $22 million in state construction dollars to the pipeline project and gave area governments power to raise local taxes to unlock even more matching money from the state.
"It shows that … we're really serious about getting this done," Klobuchar said.
With the $8.4 million in federal funding awarded last year, there's enough money in the project's budget to construct the pipeline past Luverne and toward Worthington, Dayton said.
The delegation pressed Jewell on funding for 2016, the year the state funds will begin to dry up. Wednesday's meeting wasn't the first time that Jewell has heard their pleas.
"I've been a broken record on this with her," Franken said.