Flood Diversion Projects Plan “B” Moving Along

They expect to get an answer from the DNR by the end of the year

FARGO, N.D. — The Fargo–Moorhead Flood Diversion Project is part of a waiting game right now.

“The intent is to build this in six years. With the work that the governor, all of the local energists have done, once we get through the DNR permit process, we’re now in position to actually do it because we have the federal funding to do it,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R).

As the diversion authority waits for the DNR’s decision, they’re ensuring every other part of the project is bulletproof. Sen. Hoeven met with the diversion authority to discuss his Water Resources Development Act. It will allow engineers to build on federal easements, or restricted land, only for the purposes of flood protection.

“To be able to do it on this project is huge because you couldn’t use Route ‘B’ without this legislation,” Hoeven said.

Sen. Hoeven expects to have the Senate authorize the bill by Labor Day.

Gov. Doug Burgum also met with the task force this afternoon.

He says Plan “B” could help residents save $50 million a year in flood insurance costs.

“If we don’t get this thing built, flood insurance rates are only going one way,” Hoeven said. “They’re going up. Those premiums will be going up and up and up, so that actually might be a conservative estimate.”

“Presently, I pay $400 a year for that. We’re concerned that’ll jump $2,000 to $3,000,” said Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney. “So a normal home owner, that’s really expensive to add to your mortgage payment. So that’s a real concern in Fargo is that people will have too high of flood insurance and thereby be priced out of their home.”

That’s why everyone who’s working on the project says they’re looking for additional ways they can save money on a state and local level, including Sen. Hoeven’s Water and Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

“That’s a government guaranteed financing that’s going to bring the financing cost of the project down. Since the federal portion is fixed, that savings goes to the state and local cost share.”

From this legislation, to the task force and everything in between, Mayor Mahoney, Sen. Hoeven and Gov. Burgum say they’re hopeful for a “yes” from the DNR by the end of the year. Part of it is because of every organization and every person who has worked on Plan “B.”

“We’re doing it out of a spirit of collaboration. We’re doing it out of let’s come up with a solution to provide 100–year, certified, federally authorized, locally permitted flood protection.”

The flood diversion task force will be releasing a public survey on the project within the next few months.

The diversion authority will have their next meeting on August 23rd.

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