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The following is a letter from Diversion Board of Authority Chair and Cass County Commissioner Mary Scherling.

Senators and Representatives,

Please vote no on SB2020 as it does not provide the $870M in legislative intent necessary for the FM Area Diversion Project. I appreciate the effort, attention and support that has been placed on this project by the legislative body, and fully appreciate the additional funding that is included in the current version of the bill, but the $750M included in legislative intent creates a funding gap that unbalances the financial plan that was supported by the $870M request. Anything less than $870M will result in costs increases and/or increased likelihood of additional burden on local taxpayers.

The legislature has always been a vital partner to this project. In the 2013 session, legislators agreed to support 50% of the non-federal share of the Project, which would result in over $1 billion dollars of State funding. Because of the work of Senator Hoeven and the extraordinary commitment from local taxpayers, the $870M request to the state this session was able to be substantially less than 50%.

The ruling from Judge Tunheim last week allows all planned construction to move forward. It is imperative that the full $870M is included in SB2020 to keep this Project on budget, on schedule, and prevent future increased legislative funding requests.

Please vote No and send this bill back to conference committee to reconsider. Thank you for your service to your district and the state.

Mary Scherling
Diversion Authority, Chair
Cass County, Commissioner