Hoeven Working to Increase Federal Funding for Comprehensive Flood Protection in the Red River Valley
FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today outlined his work to increase funding for comprehensive flood protection in the Red River Valley. This will address the increased costs due to Route B, the changes recommended by the joint task force convened by Governors Doug Burgum and Mark Dayton. The new route and associated delays have added $600 million to the cost of the project, in addition to higher financing costs.
A new funding plan has been requested by the Diversion Authority where the State of North Dakota and the federal government will each bear $300 million of the new costs. Hoeven has been working with administration officials, including Army Corps Chief Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James, Army Corps Deputy Commanding General Scott Spellmon, Army Corps Mississippi Valley Division Commander Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney, to ensure the Army Corps has the authority it needs to provide the increased funding without passing additional legislation.
The Corps has verified to Hoeven that additional Congressional authorization is not required due to the authorization the senator originally secured in the 2014 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), but the public-private partnership (P3) will need to be renegotiated. Accordingly, Hoeven has secured agreement from the Corps to renegotiate its Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the local sponsor for the additional funding.
“Despite the funding requirements of the new route, the fact remains that the residents of the Fargo-Moorhead region need the certainty and security of comprehensive flood protection,” Hoeven said. “That’s why we’ve worked hard to secure continued support from the Army Corps to provide increased funding over the coming years. The steps we’ve taken will help keep this project moving forward and deliver this much-needed flood protection infrastructure for the region.”
As a member of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to maintain strong support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction account and secure project funding in the coming years. This follows the increased funding Hoeven secured in Fiscal Year 2019 for the Corps’ construction efforts, which helped ensure the Corps included $35 million for construction of flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead region in its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 work plan.
In addition, Hoeven secured provisions in this year’s WRDA legislation and the FY2019 Energy and Water funding bill, both of which were signed into law this fall, to move forward with flood protection projects.
WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT ACT
- Resolves easement issue to enable Route B: Hoeven included his provision to resolve easements on land purchased with Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding. The senator’s provision grants the authority needed to implement Route B, the changes recommended by the joint task force convened by Governors Doug Burgum and Mark Dayton.
FISCAL YEAR 2019 ENERGY AND WATER FUNDING BILL
- Increases the Corps’ construction account by $150 million to ensure priorities like flood protection in the Red River Valley continue to receive funding.
- Implements the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program to provide states and local governments with low-cost, flexible funding sources when building water infrastructure.
- The legislation directs the Corps to complete a detailed plan for implementing WIFIA and provides up to $6 million to support WIFIA program implementation. This aligns with Hoeven’s legislation to extend the WIFIA program.
- Ensures fair treatment of P3 projects and others that use alternative financing methods during the Corps’ cost-benefit analysis, including flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead region.
- The bill requires the Corps to develop a policy on how it will evaluate P3s and incorporate them into its budget.
- Hoeven also helped advance a provision in the Senate-passed Financial Services and General Government funding bill ensuring the Corps can fund P3s.
Next Article Previous Article