US Senator John Hoeven recently spoke with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Deputy Director Russ Vought, urging for the inclusion of the Red River Valley’s flood protection project in the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget request.
The senator stressed the significance of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issuing a permit for the project last month, a vital step in addressing the injunction on the project and making it eligible to be included in the administration’s budget. Hoeven is working to set up a meeting between local flood protection leaders from the Fargo-Moorhead region and OMB officials in the coming weeks to further advance this priority.
“With the Minnesota DNR permit now approved, we have an opportunity to secure a funding request for the Red River Valley’s comprehensive flood protection in the President’s budget,” said Hoeven. “My call to Deputy Director Vought was all about ensuring the administration understands how important this step is and how vital the project is to the safety and well-being of the region’s residents. Following this, we are working to set up meetings between OMB and local leaders to include the project in the administration’s budget, which will help us secure additional federal funding to cover the costs of implementing Route B.”
The call to OMB comes as part of Hoeven’s continued efforts to secure additional federal funding for the region’s comprehensive flood protection project. As a member of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to maintain strong support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ construction account and secure project funding in the coming years.
The call also follows Hoeven securing a $150 million increase for the Corps’ construction efforts in FY2019, which helped ensure the Corps included $35 million for construction of flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead region in its FY2019 work plan. In addition, Hoeven included the following provisions in last year’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and the FY2019 Energy and Water funding bill:
· Resolving easement issue to enable Route B, the changes recommended by the joint task force convened by Governors Doug Burgum and Mark Dayton.
· Funding to implement the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program. This aligns with Hoeven’s legislation to extend WIFIA.
· Ensuring fair treatment of P3 projects and others that use alternative financing methods during the Corps’ cost-benefit analysis, including flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead region.