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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 13, 2014, 03:01 PM

F-M diversion inches toward final OK in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Almost a year to the day since the project was initially approved by the U.S. Senate, the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion is finally inching toward final Congressional authorization.

By: Kyle Potter, INFORUM, Forum News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Almost a year to the day since the project was initially approved by the U.S. Senate, the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion is finally inching toward final Congressional authorization.

The Water Resources Development Act, a package of water infrastructure projects including the proposed $1.8 billion flood channel around the metro, has been stuck in conference committee since the House passed a different version of the bill in late October – after the Senate passed it in mid-May of last year.

On Tuesday, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven announced the two chambers had finally ironed out the differences in their bills, and the compromise bill contains authorization for the diversion. His office expects the bill to come up for final approval on the House floor early next week, with the Senate soon to follow.

“With authorization for permanent flood control in the Red River Valley we take a big step toward the construction phase of the project,” said Hoeven, a Republican. Hoeven also noted the bill

Diversion leaders have been in a holding pattern for months while awaiting an OK on the project from Congress. At its monthly board meeting last week, consultant Bruce Spiller joked: “One day I’ll be able to say WRDA is out of conference committee.”

Congressional authorization does not guarantee the project any federal dollars for the project, but merely a spot in line to seek federal funding. The project is asking the federal government to cover $810 million of construction costs.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kyle Potter at (701) 241-5502

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