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RAHALL REMARKS AT LINCOLN COUNTY WATER PROJECT SIGNING
HAMLIN, W.Va. – At the Lower Mud River water extension project partnership agreement signing ceremony, U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) Monday stressed the value of federal investments in clean water to economically strengthen entire regions of the state and nation.
“Our hills and mountains make it very expensive to deliver water to taps in our homes and businesses. Government can and does play a legitimate, good and beneficial role in leveling the playing field for families and businesses,” said Rahall, the top Democrat of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who is calling for greater federal funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects throughout the Nation. “That’s why I helped write the law that enlisted the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to lend us not only their expertise, but some federal funding to bring drinking water to families, schools and businesses. This program has pumped some $29 million dollars into leveraging service for tens of thousands of West Virginians. It is true these projects meet the bottom line by bringing clean water to entire families – home after home – neighborhood after neighborhood. These projects also are sound investments which create economic value and build equity in our region.”
The Lower Mud River Water Extension Project in Hamlin sponsored by the Lincoln County Public Service District will extend potable water service to approximately 147 residential and commercial customers in the Lincoln County communities of Lower Mud River, Laurel Creek, Straight Fork, Buffalo Creek, Little Buffalo Creek and surrounding areas. Total project cost is $700,000 – $525,000 in Corps funding and $175,000 from the sponsor. This project is a key component of a much larger design and construction project valued at $11,000,000.
Rahall’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Remarks of U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall, II
Lower Mud River Project PPA Signing
Lincoln County Courthouse
Hamlin, West Virginia
Somebody who probably couldn’t get water service to their house made an interesting observation, he defined an Ocean as: “A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man, who has no gills.”
It does seem all too often, in a world with so much water, that it is awfully hard to get water that is fresh and clean and drinkable. Our hills and mountains make it very expensive to deliver water to taps in our homes and businesses.
That’s why I helped write the law that enlisted the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to lend us not only their expertise, but some federal funding to bring drinking water to families, schools and businesses.
This program has pumped some $29 million dollars into leveraging service for tens of thousands of West Virginians. But meeting the bottom line by bringing clean water to entire families – home after home – neighborhood after neighborhood – all 147 families and businesses, is only part of the story. As Paul Harvey used to say, “PAGE TWO, here’s the rest of the story.”
Clean drinking water also means both families and home values get healthier. 51 new fire hydrants probably means, fire insurance rates will drop. Existing businesses win and new ones are easier to attract.
Bundle all those benefits across the country, and you realize you just leveled the playing field for families and small businesses in rural areas. In total, you just made a nation stronger.
Wise investments like this make good old fashioned horse sense to most of us, but believe it or not, some guys in Washington, D.C., just don’t get it.
How many of us here have heard this line on television lately, it goes something like this, “who knows how to best use your money, those politicians in Washington or you?”
Of course, most of the time that’s true. But among the first things I think of when I hear that catchy phrase is things like THIS PROJECT. And I think of the 345 families and businesses in Alkol who will be served with the $1million dollars from ARC I just announced last week.
None other than Abe Lincoln – no stranger to this county – said, “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done,” but cannot do on their own.
That idea is as true today as ever! Government can and does play a legitimate, good and beneficial role in our lives. Now, we just have to convince the Washington budget whackers of this.
Projects like today’s – leveraging more public and private dollars, and reaping sound returns for taxpayers in the end – are sound investments for the taxpayer. We have to defend these projects on two fronts.
First, this Corps funding is one of those evil earmarks. To me, as long as funding is earmarked in the light of day and everyone has had the chance to examine it before it becomes law, it is legitimate as any law.
The other front we face with people projects is a broader budget battle. For example, Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget would be devastating to states like ours.
Sadly, Bobby Lewis’s Rural Development agency would be dealt a terrible blow in this budget proposal. Mark my word – ARC and EDA, federal funding for Small Cities Block Grant program – these bread and butter jobs development creators will suffer horribly.
The best efforts of our State Infrastructure Council, and county commissions, to provide matching funds, will fall short.
Don’t get me wrong, today we should still celebrate, because this is shining example of what government can do well and do right. Over the years, Region II tells me, we have brought clean water to about 70% of this county. But, we won’t get the job finished, if we make short sighted budget decisions.
My message is we still have much more work to do. When communities can’t do it on their own, we need our fair share of the country’s resources to level this Nation’s playing field for everyone.
You have my pledge to continue the fight to fully fund the investments to deliver those goals. Today shows America works best when we work as one toward that “more perfect union” our Constitution envisioned 225 years ago.