Governor Calling On Minnesota Lawmakers To Get Water To Worthington

Dayton: "There is no plan B. The alternative is failure."

Gov. Mark Dayton is calling on Minnesota lawmakers to help get much needed water to the city of Worthington. But in order to approve funding for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water Project, the legislature would have to agree to the terms of a special session.

Dayton said, “There is no plan B. The alternative is failure.”

Dayton made a quick stop in Worthington Thursday, stressing to residents the importance of getting water to Worthington. But he knows they’re not the ones who need convincing.

Lewis & Clark Regional Water System Executive Director Troy Larson said, “Worthington has needed more water for 100 years now and it’s high time that we get it done.”

The city needs state lawmakers to pass a bonding bill. The bill would provide a ‘federal funding advance’ of $11.5 million, the amount needed to connect Worthington to the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.

Dayton said, “Two years is still a long time to wait, but at least we know that the project’s going forward, you have some businesses I know that want to expand their operations.”

The project is about 67 percent complete. Luverne finally received water after 26 years of waiting. In March, the town became the 13th member to be connected to the Lewis & Clark. Magnolia will be connected by the end of this year, followed by Adrian by the end of 2017.

“This last stretch then we need is from Adrian to Worthington,” said Larson. This funding is so critical for us to be able to keep construction moving forward and get Worthington water as soon as possible.”

As of right now, the project only has enough funding to get within 73 percent in the next year.

So far, the federal government has provided just 50 percent of the funding that they owe to the project. Officials with the project say the government plans to pay back the states that have provided advances to get the project completed.