President Trump signed a bill Tuesday, Oct. 23, that authorizes money for infrastructure projects and resolves an easement issue for the FM Area Diversion Project. America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, also known as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), was passed by a 99-1 vote in the U.S. Senate and unanimous vote in the House on Oct. 10.
WRDA also authorizes at least $9 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works projects and other federal programs. $3.7 of that authorization is set aside specifically for flood protection, dredging and other projects.
Sen. John Hoeven lauded the bill as a critical step forward in securing permanent flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead community and Red River Valley. Hoeven is a member of the Senate’s Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee.
The bill resolves an issue that prevented flood protection projects from being built on lands previously purchased by with federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding.
“These easements in the Red River Valley threatened to stall our flood protection efforts and impose unnecessary costs on the project’s construction,” Hoeven said. “We worked hard to include this fix in WRDA and pass it into law, allowing construction along the new route to move forward. With this priority complete, we will continue working with the Corps to secure funding in the next work plan and advance flexible financial tools, like WIFIA, to help reduce local costs.”
Previous WRDA bills have included funding for the FM Area Diversion Project and other flood-related projects in the Red River Valley.
The Corps has until the middle of November to respond to the President with a workplan. The workplan outlines how the federal agency will spend the money appropriated to them in the WRDA bill.