FM Diversion Project In Line for Federal Authorization
by Eric Crouch, Reporter
November 20, 2012
Federal funding for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Project may be just around the corner.
Members of the F-M Diversion Authority met with area legislators to update them on the progress of the Project.
Funding from the feds for the FM Diversion plan could be full steam ahead.
That was the message from Fargo city leaders today after a meeting earlier this month In Washington, D.C.
"They were very optimistic that what they call the WRDA bill, which authorizes projects for the corps would be addressed in 2013 and at a maximum we would see authorization in 2014," City Administrator Pat Zavoral said.
Federal authorization could unlock up to 800 million dollars of federal money.
Tim Mahoney was part of the DC trip, and he says that federal money is an important part of this project.
"We've got things in line for the next year, two years, but we would have some hurdles if we don't get authorization," Mahoney said.
Since around half of the current proposed budget for the flood diversion comes from federal money, federal authorization remains key. But after all the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, there might not be enough funds to go around for awhile.
"New York talked about $36 billion that they want - North Dakota's project could be way down the ladder," State Representative Jim Kasper said.
Kasper says he's pleased with the possibility of federal money.
But securing state funds for the project is important too.
"We need to convince our western friends that it's worthy of spending another 3, 400 million dollars to do. It's not an insurmountable task but it's something that needs to be paid attention to next legislative session," Kasper said.
The state of Minnesota had pledged 100 million dollars to the project if it gets federal authorization.
Governor Jack Dalrymple is also considering 100 million dollars for the diversion plan in next year's budget.
But getting access to federal money will clearly make the biggest impact.
"It'll be a fight to claw our share of the money, but it's a fight we can win," Kasper said.
And sights like these will become a distant memory.
The F-M Diversion plan is currently number 2 on the list of projects to be considered by the Army Corps of engineers.