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Noem, Brunner visit state infrastructure improvements

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 7:32 AM CDT
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CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - During the 2021 South Dakota Legislative session, both Governor Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) and state legislators made infrastructure spending over the course of the next year a major priority.

Now, almost seven months after that idea was introduced, the rubber is already meeting the road.

Governor Noem, along with Schools and Public Lands Commissioner Ryan Brunner and a number of local officials, visited the sites of infrastructure improvements already being made in and around Chamberlain. Those improvements include making major improvements to Lake Wanalain Dam, and the drudging of a marina in the city.

“What you see here is the city of Chamberlain is spending a million dollars to dredge the marina,” Brunner explained. “If our state dam were to break, it would damage their marina and would undo all their work with the sediment coming downstream.”

Governor Noem signed at least five bills into law that had to do with infrastructure this past year, amounting to millions of dollars worth of spending across the state.

“My conversation with the legislature was let’s make sure we put money into the reserves, and then invest into long term infrastructure,” said Noem. “Railroads, dams, roads, and bridges so that we make a difference not just for the next year or two, but over the next thirty or forty years. That is exactly what these projects are doing.”

The state came into the last year with an unprecedented budget surplus. That surplus was due to a number of factors, to include higher than expected revenues during the pandemic. However, much of that surplus was due to the billions of dollars the state received from the federal government in COVID relief dollars. Noem says that while she does not necessarily agree with the large federal spending figures, she intends for the state to be good stewards of that money.

“Infrastructure is what keeps our day to day lives working, we have to keep dams like this in repair, marinas like this accessible for people to utilize,” Noem said. “We don’t want people to just come here and work, but also to utilize our natural resources as well.”

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