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The conference committee's work would be one of the last steps before final votes occur on a revised bill which would be submitted to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.
The conference committee’s work would be one of the last steps before final votes occur on a revised bill which would be submitted to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

Both versions of the bills contained support for the Diversion Project, and were passed with bipartisan support in their respective chambers.

The U.S. House and Senate have agreed to go to conference on their respective versions of water infrastructure bills that would authorize the FM Area Diversion Project and other navigation, flood control and wetland restoration projects.  The House and Senate have appointed members for the conference committee and are expected to begin discussions in the next couple weeks.

At this time, the biggest difference between the House and Senate bills are on how to select Army Corps of Engineers projects that will be authorized for funding, as well as the creation of a national levee safety program, which the Senate bill would create, while the House bill would not.

Both versions of the bills contained support for the Diversion Project, and were passed with bipartisan support in their respective chambers.  The passage of the bills marked the completion of another critical step required to secure federal funding for the Project.

“We are very optimistic that things are moving ahead at the federal level in terms of funding,” said Pat Zavoral, Fargo City Administrator.  “The Senators from North Dakota and Minnesota have met with the Office of Management and Budget director to discuss going forward with federal funding.  While no numbers were discussed, they were given direction to have their staff work with OMB staff on some funding for fiscal year 2015, and possibly even FY 2014.  This is encouraging news.”

The Diversion Authority looks forward to the conference committee resolving the differences in the House and Senate versions of the water infrastructure bills, and the President ultimately signing this, by the end of the year.

The Diversion Project will involve the construction of a 35-mile long diversion channel located in North Dakota that will direct floodwater around the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area.  If built, the project will protect more than 200,000 people and 70 square miles of infrastructure in the communities of Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Horace and Harwood.

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