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Vilsack Waits for Private Rain Forest Investment

The Gazette

January 12, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

    CEDAR RAPIDS — The state is ready and willing to participate in the development of an indoor rain forest, Gov. Tom Vilsack said Wednesday, but not until those proposing the $180 million Environmental Project can show ‘‘significant’’ private investment.

    ‘‘Unfortunately,’’ Vilsack told The Gazette, ‘‘there’s been little proof that there’s a private sector partner in this project of significance to the magnitude of the project.’’

    Vilsack, who toured Alliant Energy’s Sixth Street power plant where he talked about his agenda to strengthen Iowa communities, said that as governor, he has been supportive of the state partnering with the project to see it built in Iowa. However, it should not be treated differently from other projects in which the state has participated, he said, listing several Vision Iowa projects that have been built with state, local and private funds.

    ‘‘The state is not going to solely or wholly or only with the federal government fund this project,’’ he said.

    The federal government has earmarked $50 million for the project if it is built in Iowa. However, those funds have been frozen until the project raises more money.