Hoeven: Energy and Water Bill Provision Makes Fargo Flood Protection Project More Competitive for Corps Construction Funds

Senator Updates Mayor on Federal Legislation Allowing Corps to Construct Five New Projects

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today updated Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker on the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water legislation that allows the Army Corps of Engineers to select, on a competitive basis, five new projects to begin constructing in Fiscal Year 2015. Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, included language in the bill, which was approved by the subcommittee this week, to make the Fargo-Moorhead flood protection project more competitive by ensuring that the Corps gives due weight to local efforts to ensure funding is in place to begin construction.

“The Corps needs to account for a strong and reliable local effort – projects where funding is in place and the locals are doing more – as they select which projects to begin constructing. Our language makes sure they do just that,” said Hoeven. “With our state and local funding in place for the permanent flood protection in Fargo-Moorhead, this project should be a strong candidate for the Corps’ new construction funding. Also, the permanent flood protection project in Fargo-Moorhead will be funded 55 percent by state and local sources in contrast with most projects that only have a 35 percent local share.”

Hoeven worked to pass the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), signed into law earlier this month, which includes authorization for permanent flood protections for Fargo-Moorhead. Authorization paves the way to begin the construction phase and to be selected by the Corps for funding. Authorized projects must then be selected by the Corps to receive construction funding.

In recent years, Congress has had a no-new-starts policy, which restricted the number of new construction starts for Corps projects. The language secured by Hoeven ensures that newly authorized projects can compete for funding and instructs the Corps to choose projects with consideration for local effort. That helps give the Fargo-Moorhead project a competitive advantage because its state and local funding shares are in place and larger than the standard formula.

Hoeven has also been pressing the Army Corps of Engineers to take a comprehensive approach to flood protection in the Red River Valley by addressing concerns regarding the upstream staging area in a way that gets everyone onboard. A comprehensive approach to flood protection for the Red River Valley that includes: permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead; upstream flood protections; dikes, levees and other flood protection infrastructure in Fargo-Moorhead area, and affordable flood insurance premiums for homes and businesses.

Hoeven will continue working to pass the legislation through the full Appropriations Committee and the Senate. This is the only way to get to construction funding in Fiscal Year 2015, since the President left the project out of his budget.