Both bodies of Congress have now passed a bill into law which authorizes construction on the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project. The U.S. Senate has joined the House in signing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which is the latest step to acquiring federal funding for the Project which will build permanent flood protection for approximately 200,000 people in North Dakota and Minnesota. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.
“We are pleased that Congress has acknowledged the necessity of the Diversion Project, and recognized the funding commitments made on a state and local level which are necessary to become a financial partner in the Project,” said Darrell Vanyo, Chairman of the Flood Diversion Board of Authority. “This is one of those milestones we have been working hard to realize.”
WRRDA authorizes $846 million in federal funding for the Diversion Project. The State of North Dakota has already committed $175 million to the Project, in addition to legislative intent for an additional $275 million over the next four bienniums. Voters in the City of Fargo and Cass County have overwhelmingly approved two dedicated local sales taxes to help fund the Project. With modest growth, the sales taxes are expected to jointly raise $700 million over the life of the tax.
Following a presidential signature, the Diversion Authority would focus efforts on securing funding to begin construction on the Diversion Project. Federal funding is expected to be appropriated over time. Funding from the State of North Dakota can only be used for the Diversion once federal funding for construction is received.