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Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald , Published November 22 2011

Devils Lake Basin to get $10.2 million for flooded roads

GRAND FORKS - The Devils Lake Basin is getting $10.2 million in federal funds to repair flood-damaged roads, according to the state’s Congressional delegation Tuesday.

Altogether, the state is getting $31.5 million to repair federal-aid highways and roads on federal lands damaged by flooding this year.

The money comes out of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s budget for fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30, through a continuing resolution in Congress, said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., who with Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., announced the grants.

As part of the same funding package, the Southern Mouse River Basin, also known as the Souris River, is getting $4.5 million; the West James River Basin is getting $5.8 million; the Sheyenne/James River Basin is getting $1.1 million; and the state Department of Transportation is getting $10 million.

The special legislative session early this month in Bismarck authorized $6 million in state funds for flood-damaged roads, most of it for the Devils Lake Basin. That state money functions as a local match for federal funding for federal-aid highways and federal lands roads, which don’t qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.

But the matches would be for federal funding authorized for this, the 2012 fiscal year, Hoeven said.

Hoeven, traveling the state Tuesday, said the $31.5 million is in addition to $5 million in federal funds authorized last summer for repairing flood-damaged roads in the state. Plus, he said, the money is emergency relief funds that do not require the typical 20 percent match in local state funds.

This fiscal year, 2012, Congress has authorized $317 million to $345 million for flood-damaged roads in the state. That funding is part of a total of up to $1.3 billion in disaster-related funding coming to the state, Hoeven said.

All the disaster-related road funding is “over and above” the regular federal highway funding of about $236 million expected each year, Hoeven said. “We will end up with a total of $550 million in highway funding this year, the most we have ever had, and a big part is emergency relief funding.”