Hoeven Hosts Army Corps Chief in Cass County to Advance Permanent Flood Protection
Meeting Comes as Part of Senator’s Work to Secure Increased Federal Funding, Help Reduce Local Costs
FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today hosted Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, Chief for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in North Dakota to review flooding in rural Cass County and downtown Fargo and advance permanent flood protection for the Red River Valley. Hoeven has been working to secure increased federal funding to help cover the costs of implementing Plan B and provide innovative tools to reduce costs for local sponsors. The tour and meeting come as part of his efforts and dovetail with the Notice to Proceed issued by the Corps last week, which allows construction to proceed on the inlet structure, a $46 million portion of the federal government’s share of the project.
“We need comprehensive flood protection for the Red River Valley, as the project would not only protect Fargo-Moorhead, but would address the issues of overland flooding from the Sheyenne and Maple Rivers, which are impacting communities like Harwood and Argusville,” Hoeven said. “We appreciate Lt. Gen. Semonite’s willingness to come to the region again and see the flooding situation firsthand, especially as construction moves forward on the federal portion of the project. This knowledge will be important as we continue working with him to meet the increased federal funding commitment, including through future Army Corps work plans, and in providing tools like WIFIA to reduce the local costs.”
Hoeven worked consistently in recent months to advance the agreement with administration officials including Mulvaney, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russ Vought, Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASA) for Civil Works R.D. James and Chief Semonite.
Following his efforts, the senator announced that ASA James approved the renegotiation of the agreement and directed the Army Corps to increase the federal government’s commitment to the project by $300 million, up to $750 million. Hoeven joined federal, state and local leaders at the PPA signing ceremony last month and will continue working with Semonite to fulfill this commitment through Army Corps work plans.
Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
Hoeven secured legislation in the FY2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill directing the Corps to complete a detailed plan for implementing WIFIA and provides up to $6 million for this effort. This aligns with Hoeven’s legislation to extend the WIFIA program, which provides states and local governments with low-cost, flexible funding sources when building water infrastructure.
Legislative Efforts & Accomplishments
The renegotiated PPA and WIFIA legislation are the latest developments in Hoeven’s efforts to secure comprehensive, permanent flood protection for the Red River Valley. A timeline of legislation Hoeven has passed to make this progress possible can be found here.
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