Hoeven: Red River Valley's Flood Protection Serving As a Model for Major Corps Projects Across the U.S.

Senator Reviews First-In-The-Nation Project with Army Corps Leadership, Discusses Utilizing P3 Model & WIFIA Loan to Keep Project on Schedule & within Budget

HORACE, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today reviewed the Red River Valley’s comprehensive flood protection project with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leadership, including Army Corps Chief Scott Spellmon and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor. Hoeven joined the Corps leaders to highlight how the first-in-the-nation project can serve as a model for the U.S. to complete projects more quickly and at a lower cost.

Specifically, the senator discussed how this is the first major Army Corps project to utilize both the public-private partnership (P3) split-delivery model and a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan, which have enabled the federal portion of the project to stay on schedule and within budget. Hoeven advanced these efforts by:

  • Securing the required federal authorization and fully funding the $750 million federal cost share.
  • Working with the Corps and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure projects that use alternative financing methods, like P3s, receive fair treatment during the federal cost-benefit analysis.
  • Funding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WIFIA program, securing a formal invitation for Fargo-Moorhead to apply and working to expedite the approval process.
  • Removing roadblocks to construction, while providing the flexibility and annual funding needed to prevent delays in construction.

“Having the Army Corps leadership in the Red River Valley today is an exciting opportunity to showcase our first-in-the-nation comprehensive flood protection project,” said Hoeven. “This project is a proof-of-concept for the Corps, providing a nationwide model on how to build projects on a quicker timeline and at a lower cost. That’s why we consistently worked with the Corps and OMB to support the use of the P3 model, which allowed different aspects of the project to be constructed concurrently, while fully funding the federal cost share and advancing Fargo-Moorhead’s WIFIA loan application to bring down local costs over the long-term.”

In addition, Hoeven’s efforts have included:

  • Working to pass 16 acts of Congress, including:
    • 9 legislative provisions, such as the project authorization in 2014 and a new construction start authorization in 2016.
    • 7 separate appropriations to fund the project’s construction.
  • Coordinating efforts across four federal agencies.
  • Providing funding and flexibility to concurrently raise I-29 and begin excavating the Red River Control Structure to keep the project on schedule.
  • Helping renegotiate the Project Partnership Agreement to increase the federal funding commitment from $450 million.
  • Resolving the easement issue on lands purchased with Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding, allowing the project to use an alternative route.