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Patrick Springer, Published May 29 2013

Hoeven: New proposal could provide federal funds for Red River Diversion

FARGO – A proposal to provide states with significant funding for infrastructure projects could provide for the federal share of the Fargo-Moorhead flood control diversion if it passed, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Wednesday.

Hoeven said he is working with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on the infrastructure proposal, which would include offsets so it would not add to the budget deficit.

Given the need for infrastructure upgrades throughout the nation, the proposal stands a good chance of winning acceptance in Congress, Hoeven told The Forum Editorial Board.

The $1.8 billion flood control project recently won authorization in the Senate. Hoeven is optimistic the House also will authorize the project.

Once authorized, the focus will shift for construction funding. Already, millions of federal dollars have been appropriated for studies and design work. Plans calls for $800 million in federal funding to build the diversion.

Hoeven and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., met recently with President Barack Obama to urge him to include the project in his budget requests, which would make it much easier to obtain funding, Hoeven said.

“It’s important that the president get us in the budget,” he said, noting that some water projects have a higher benefit-cost ratio. “That gives us a running start.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522