Mr. Streett goes to Washington*
*with Dist. 3 Commissioner, Dan Toepper & Broadband & Communications Director, Will O’Donnell.
Jefferson PUD staff joined PUDs from across Washington State at the National capital for the annual Legislative Rally organized by Washington Public Utility Districts Association (WPUDA) and the American Public Power Association.
Staff spent the week on the Hill working closely with Senators, Representatives and their teams discussing close-to-home topics, while also present for large discussions affecting western grids.
Broadband often took centerstage in many discussions.
WA State Senator and Chair of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Patty Murray and team learned of progress in rural broadband buildout to underserved communities and explored funding mechanisms available to PUDs.
Rural Utilities Service (RUS), provider of loans, grants & loan guarantees from the USDA, discussed streamlining of grant funding processes for utilities, focusing on ways to avoid impacts on utilities due to interest rate changes and funding timelines.
Utility relocation is a costly and ongoing topic as new regulations prompt PUDs to address infrastructure near salmon bearing streams. WPUDA members met with WA State Rep, Derek Kilmer to discuss ways to obtain funding for projects such as culvert restorations.
Staff for WA State Senator, Maria Cantwell, discussed workforce challenges, supply chain and material shortages potentially affecting service reliability with Jefferson PUD staff and explored future broadband and electric projects for the region.