Senator John Hoeven today announced that in the first week of May the full U.S. Senate will vote to take up the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which includes authorization for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project.
Hoeven has been pushing for the legislation, making the case to Senate leadership that permanent flood protection is far less expensive and more effective than recovering from severe flooding, as North Dakota learned in 2009 and 2011.
"We have been pushing for this authorization for the project because it represents a big step toward permanent flood control in the Red River Valley," Hoeven said. "Once it is authorized, we will have a stronger hand in securing funding for 2014."
Following meetings last week with President Obama and Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul District Commander Col. Michael Price, Hoeven announced that the agency will make $7.4 million available in 2013 for project engineering and design for the Fargo-Moorhead Metro Diversion project. The funding comes as a result of the continuing resolution Congress passed in January to fund government for the balance of 2013. Hoeven, through the Appropriations Committee, worked to provide funding for the Corps, which they were able to use for the diversion, he said.
Hoeven and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota also told the president that the region is again facing a possible flood this year and that permanent flood protection in the Red River Valley is a top priority for both states. The senators said it is vital that funding be included in the president's budget to show administration support. Hoeven, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he will continue to work in Congress to secure funding.