Members Highlight Importance of Project in Face of Forecasted State Revenue Shortfalls, Governor’s Plan to Increase Skilled Labor Opportunities
DES MOINES – With a public hearing to consider the Dakota Access pipeline less than a month away, members of the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now joined on Thursday to stress to regulators the ability of projects like Dakota Access to boost the Iowa economy through new tax revenue and skilled labor opportunities. On the heels of news that slumping farm income will reduce forecasted state revenue by more than $120 million during the current fiscal year, MAIN members underscored the vital importance of large-scale projects like Dakota Access capable of creating jobs and generating revenue for the state of Iowa.
“Iowa’s economic well being depends upon a robust, productive, and continually growing business community,” said Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “But the business community needs more than just a good idea and hard work to flourish – it also needs a business climate that encourages new investment like the Dakota Access project. As regulators consider Dakota Access in the weeks ahead, I hope they will consider the vital role the project can play in keeping our state budget healthy and our economy growing.”
The proposed pipeline project presents an opportunity for a $1.04 billion capital investment to the state of Iowa and that will create between 2,000 and 4,000 construction jobs – many of which include the high-skilled trade and apprenticeship positions sought after by state leaders.
“Dakota Access is poised to create thousands of jobs for skilled laborers here in Iowa,” added Bill Gerhard, President of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council. “Good paying jobs like those provided by Dakota Access help us to support their families, invest in their communities, and make sure Iowa’s economy remains among the best in the nation. We’re ready to get to work, and we look forward to sharing our perspective with the IUB as they weigh the project’s merits.”
Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds recently announced the Future Ready Iowa plan, which seeks to improve the outlook for skilled labor in the state of Iowa.
“Projects of this magnitude deserve careful, deliberate consideration,” continued Ed Wiederstein, MAIN Chairman and past president of the Iowa Farm Bureau. “As the process moves forward, we urge the IUB to focus on the facts surrounding the unmistakable boost that Dakota Access will provide to our economy, our energy security, and the safety and efficiency with which we move the energy that we all use every day. It is vital that this process be driven by facts, not by inflammatory rhetoric.”
About MAIN: The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) is a partnership of entities from agriculture, business, and labor sectors aimed at supporting the economic development and energy security benefits associated with infrastructure projects in the Midwest. MAIN is a project of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council and boasts nearly 50 members across four states. Visit us online at www.MWAllianceNow.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.