Hoeven Reviews Red River Valley Inlet Construction, Outlines Efforts to Advance Flood Protection for the Region
Senator Secured $100 Million in Army Corps’ FY2020 Work Plan, Working to Fund Construction Account & Advance WIFIA Application
FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, today reviewed the construction of the Red River Valley flood protection project’s inlet and control structure with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials and local leaders. The senator discussed the project’s progress and outlined his efforts to ensure adequate funding to keep construction moving forward, including:
- Funding the Army Corps’ construction account above the president’s budget request to help ensure the project is included in the Army Corps’ annual work plan.
- Advancing Fargo-Moorhead’s application for a $561 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan, which will serve as a low-cost, flexible funding source.
“The $100 million we secured through the Army Corps’ work plan is supporting the construction of key components for the Red River Valley’s permanent flood protection project,” Hoeven said. “Today was an opportunity to see these developments firsthand as we continue advancing future funding for this project. To this end, we are prioritizing the Army Corps’ construction account to help fund the project’s construction capacity next year. We are also working with the administration to expedite the WIFIA loan application and ensure the project can access this important funding source in a timely way.”
Securing Construction Funding
The funding Hoeven worked to include in the FY2020 Army Corps work plan supports:
- Completion of the Wild Rice Control Structure.
- Design and construction of the first embankment.
- Construction of the inlet structure.
- Initiation of the contract to raise I-29.
Moving forward, Hoeven is working to secure additional funding for the Corps’ construction account above the president’s FY2021 budget request. Doing so will help ensure the Army Corps can continue to meet the project’s annual building capacity.
Advancing the WIFIA Loan Application
At an event with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler last year, Hoeven announced that the agency had invited the Diversion Authority to apply for a $561 million WIFIA loan. The senator has since been working with the Administration and the EPA to move the process forward and ensure access to the loan program, which:
- Removes the risk of increasing interest rates and provides lower rates than other financing options.
- This could save the project at least $600 million in interest payments over the 40-year life of the loan, according to the project sponsor.
- Allows the project sponsor to draw down funds as needed, enabling less debt to be carried earlier in the project.
- Provides flexibility in its payback schedule.
Further, Hoeven recently secured administration support for expediting Fargo-Moorhead’s WIFIA loan application. Legislation approved last year requires the Administration to develop an approach across agencies for WIFIA loans, which could have held up the project’s application. Accordingly, Hoeven worked to ensure that the EPA is able to receive and begin processing the loan application for the project, which will provide permanent flood protection in the region.
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