Hoeven: Army Corps FY2018 Work Plan Advances Flood Protection, Water Infrastructure Projects in ND

Senator Secured Increased Funding for Army Corps Construction to Ensure Progress in Red River Valley, Advanced Minot Region Flood Study & Sewer Upgrades for Small Communities like Medina

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 work plan includes provisions to advance flood protection and water infrastructure projects in North Dakota. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Energy and Water, Hoeven secured the funding for these efforts, including providing increased funding for the Corps’ construction account. The senator also worked to ensure the support of key administration officials, including Army Corps Chief Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney. As a result, the work plan includes the following funding:

  • $35 million for construction of flood protection in the Red River Valley.
  • $700,000 for the Minot region’s flood study. This is a key step that must be completed prior to the construction of the project’s fourth phase, which will tie the earlier phases of the project together and deliver flood protection for 60 percent of residents in the Souris River Valley.
  • $3.5 million to replace the deteriorating water and sewer mains in Medina. This project will ensure water pressure for the community’s homes and businesses and help prevent contamination of local ground water supplies.

“This funding in the Army Corps work plan is vital to moving forward with flood protection efforts in the Minot region and the Red River Valley,” Hoeven said. “We worked hard to provide the Corps with sufficient funding for both of these projects, as well as for small water infrastructure projects in communities like Medina. Once we had those funds appropriated, we stayed in regular contact with officials across the administration to ensure North Dakota’s priorities were included in the work plan.”

Hoeven continues to work to support comprehensive flood protection in North Dakota, both through annual funding bills and the Senate’s water resources legislation. To this end, the senator spoke with Director Mulvaney last week, who expressed support for a Hoeven-sponsored provision in the Senate’s Energy and Water Appropriations legislation that ensures fair treatment of projects that use alternative financing methods during the Corps’ cost-benefit analysis, like the public-private partnership (P3) used for flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead region. Hoeven is advancing P3s as a solution to help work through the Army Corps’ backlog, and his provision will help ensure the Red River Valley project continues to be funded in future work plans.

Further, Hoeven secured a provision in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act that will allow flood control structures under the updated comprehensive flood protection plan for the Fargo-Moorhead region to be built on land purchased with Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding. The senator’s provision grants the authority needed to implement the changes recommended by the joint task force convened by Governors Doug Burgum and Mark Dayton. 

Hoeven also included the following priorities in the FY2019 Energy and Water funding bill, which the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved last month:

Support for P3 Projects – Includes a provision directing the Corps to issue policy on the consideration and incorporation of public-private sector partnership projects into its budget. This continues Hoeven’s work to ensure fair treatment of public-private partnerships, such as comprehensive flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead region, during the Corps’ analysis of a project’s benefits and costs. 

Army Corps Construction – Provides $76 million in funding above the FY2018 level for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction projects. The increase in the Corps construction account provides additional funding to support Corps priorities in FY2019, including comprehensive flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead region.  

Implementing WIFIA – Building on Hoeven’s legislation to extend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), the bill includes language directing the Corps to complete a detailed plan for implementing WIFIA, including a schedule for when funding could be used for providing loans. The bill provides $1 million to support WIFIA program development and implementation. WIFIA supplements federal funding with long-term, low-cost loans and loan guarantees to help stimulate investment in water infrastructure, such as flood control, storm water management and wastewater treatment.

Small Water Infrastructure Projects – Provides $75 million in infrastructure funding for small water infrastructure improvements. This program has supported sewer upgrades for cities like Medina, LaMoure and Petersburg.

Missouri River Recreation Site Repairs – Includes language encouraging the Corps to prioritize repairs of recreation sites on its land along the Missouri River.

Section 404 and 408 Reviews – Encourages the Corps to continue reforms to accelerate section 404 and 408 reviews that experienced significant delays in prior years. Last year, Hoeven secured similar language in the bill to expedite processing of Section 408 packages that affected several North Dakota projects, including those in Minot and Cass County.