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Infrastructure Problems Cause 2 Cities To Miss Out on Industry

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By Aimee Burnett

Magic Valley, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Infrastructure problems in two Magic Valley cities are causing big business problems.

For Jan Rogers of the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization, bringing new business to our region is her job.

But, lately she's been running into some roadblocks.

"If you don't have the infrastructure in place, you can't compete for it," said Jan Rogers, Executive Director, SIEDO.

The infrastructure Rogers is talking about… wastewater treatment facilities in Jerome and Twin Falls.

As she explains, Ag–based business is what most of the industry coming into the Magic Valley is.

We are the most diverse food basket in America. This region is. So, we're food–based. That is the core foundation of our economy," said Rogers.

And, food–based industries produce large amounts of wastewater.

Just last week, the state came to SIEDO with a multi–million dollar industry looking to build here.

But, Twin Falls and Jerome were not able to compete for it.

"The only two communities that could compete for this project were Burley and Rupert."

A project that will produce anywhere from 150 to 200 jobs.

Twin Falls alone has lost out on over a billion dollars and thousands of jobs.

"To date we have about twelve major businesses that have expressed interest in Twin Falls to start operations and we've had to say no because we don't have the wastewater infrastructure available to them," said Lori Ward, Citizens Advisory Committee on Wastewater Infrastructure.

So, what does that mean in terms of cold hard cash?

"About $1.2 billion dollars and about 2,100 jobs," said Ward.

Losses to Twin Falls and Jerome have implications throughout the Magic Valley.

"The more options these companies have when they're looking at our region, the better it is for our region," said Rogers.

Rogers says that if and when the wastewater treatment facilities are completed, both cities will be eligible to compete for new industries.



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