Hoeven Advancing Federal Support for Repairs and Flood Prevention for Inundated Roads in Stutsman County

Senator Pressing FEMA to Ensure Public Assistance Program Meets Local Needs, Improves Resiliency

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, along with Senator Kevin Cramer and North Dakota legislators Senator Terry Wanzek and Representative Craig Headland, today discussed the damage to roadways inundated with floodwater in Stutsman County and advanced options with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES), local officials and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for repairing the damage and preventing future flooding. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Homeland Security, Hoeven oversees the annual funding for FEMA and is working to ensure the agency’s programs meet the needs of the state’s communities as they respond to and prepare for disasters. The senator participated in today’s meeting by telephone. 

This builds on Hoeven’s recent conversation with FEMA Deputy Regional Administrator Nancy Dragani and Recovery Division Director Ryan Pietramali, where he pressed them to:

  • Provide clarity to NDDES as it works to secure support for road repairs and improvements.
  • Ensure the agency’s policies for its Public Assistance (PA) program aligns with Congress’ intention to increase local resiliency against disasters. 

“When these rural roads become inaccessible due to flooding, it creates a real hazard for local residents,” said Hoeven. “Not only does it impact their day-to-day lives, especially for our agriculture producers who are trying to get their product to market, but it also greatly increases response times for emergency services. We need FEMA to be a good partner in preventing these risks, but the policy that has been developed for the Public Assistance program is currently unworkable for many local governments. We’ve been pressing the agency on this issue, and today’s meeting was a good opportunity to further help NDDES and our communities access this much-needed program.”

Specifically, Hoeven has been engaging FEMA to address guidance related to its PA grant program, which is hindering the state’s efforts to secure funding to repair inundated roads and permanently increase road grades. The policy requires burdensome and costly additional steps, including the construction and subsequent removal of emergency access for impacted roads, in order for repairs to be eligible.