Erik Burgess, Published May 01 2013
Hoeven says Senate will vote Monday on bill including diversion approval
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in Fargo this morning that the Senate has the bipartisan support to pass the 2013 Water Resources Development Act, which includes a congressional endorsement of the proposed flood channel around the metro area – a step that must happen before federal funding of the project.
“We need to get that authorization. I believe we can secure that next week. That’s a huge step forward,” Hoeven said.
The diversion was not included in President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget proposal released earlier this month.
Hoeven, along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told a group of Cass and Clay county officials this morning that they have spoken personally with Obama and made it “very clear” that the diversion is a priority for this region.
Hoeven said the immediate result of speaking with Obama was that the project received $7.4 million for fiscal year 2013 for project engineering and design, up from the $4.5 million it was originally set to receive.
“Several times actually in the past week I’ve heard him (Obama) at public events mention the flooding in the Midwest and that our concerns should be there. So, I think he’s well aware of it,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar added that Obama’s second term Chief of Staff is Denis McDonough, who grew up in Stillwater, Minn.
“That’s good because it’s a river town,” she said. “That, I think, is going to be very helpful to all of us.”