Benton County commissioners will be running a show-and-tell bus tour today for state legislators with the focus on Red Mountain wine industry and the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser.
Commissioner Leo Bowman, whose district covers both areas, suggested it would be good to have legislators from the 16th and 8th districts see what is happening and proposed for territory newly included in their districts by the recent statewide redistricting.
The tour will have representatives from both legislative districts and from the office of Congressman Doc Hastings, a Republican from Pasco. The tour also will include county commissioner Shon Small, and officials from the ports of Kennewick and Benton, the Kennewick Irrigation District and the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area.
The tour, which does not provide for public participation, will travel in a bus provided by Ben Franklin Transit. It will start at 11:30 a.m. and end late this afternoon.
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Tour stops include the Clore Center and Vintners Village in Prosser, the Benton City Community Center and Kiona Vineyards Winery on Red Mountain. Lunch will be provided by the Benton Rural Electric Association.
The tour will focus on economic development projects, tourism and infrastructure improvements, said Troy Berglund of Benton REA.
Guest speakers include staff from the Kennewick Irrigation District, Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau, City of Prosser, Port of Benton and Don Whitehouse, regional director of the state Department of Transportation.
Whitehouse is expected to give an update about the proposed Red Mountain Interchange Project, which is on the governor's list of priority transportation projects in the states.
Bowman said the tour is not being done at Benton County's expense. He also said it is not an official meeting of the county commissioners. Even though he and Small constitute a quorum of the board, they will not discuss any county business or take any action as a board while on the tour, Bowman said.