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Branson mayor heads to Washington to talk infrastructure

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Branson Mayor Karen Best is scheduled to participate in infrastructure discussions during the next week in Washington, D.C.

Best was invited to participate in the National League of Cities’ 2018 Congressional City Conference. She recently was elected to the organization’s board of directors for a two-year term, and today, she’s attending meetings in Washington with the board and the Mayors’ Educational Task Force. Best is expected to return to Branson on March 16, according to a news release.

During the trip, Best also agreed to participate in a White House invitation for the Mayors’ Infrastructure Discussion on March 15. President Donald Trump recently outlined a proposal for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, which calls on states and municipalities to leverage funding for improvements.

Best was invited by Billy Kirkland, special assistant to the president and deputy director of intergovernmental affairs at the White House.

“I am grateful the White House is taking notice of Branson, Missouri, and our specific needs,” Best said in the release. “I appreciate the opportunity to share Branson’s story on the national level where decisions can be quickly made to impact our community.”

During the meeting, Best plan to discuss:
    •    the city’s plans for Highway 76 and downtown infrastructure improvements, which would cost $50 million for duct banks and design, as well as $14 million for water lines;
    •    a $26 million expansion of the Cooper Creek wastewater treatment plant;
    •    a $10 million proposal to build a protection wall around one of the city’s wastewater treatment plants, which would prevent sewage from flowing into Lake Taneycomo and eventually the White River Basin System in the event of future floods;
    •    a $9 million pump station improvement; and
    •    potential funding for the engineering of shovel-ready projects, among other items.

“These projects present a large challenge for a community of 10,500 residents with an 8 million tourist population each year,” Best wrote in a letter to Kirkland.

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