Construction on the FM Area Diversion Project is ready to begin as early as 2016 under a private financing plan which could save a significant amount of money and cut the federal share of the project in half, as well as reduce the number of years needed to complete the work.
Under the public/private partnership (P3) plan being considered, the Diversion Authority would contract with a private company to build the channel portion of the FM Area Diversion Project while the Corps constructs the Southern Embankment. (See a map illustrating the plan)
Congress authorized the P3 model for flood control projects earlier this year as part of the Water Resources Reform & Development Act.
North Dakota Governor Signs Water Bill Containing Diversion Funding
In April 2015, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signed legislation which includes $69 million in appropriation for the FM Area Diversion Project for the next fiscal year. Senate Bill 2020 (SB2020) is the legislation that carries the Governor’s budget for the State Water Commission and contains funding for water projects across the State.
The Diversion Project previously received $175 million from legislative appropriations. This year's funding allocation for $69 million is consistent with the legislative commitment and schedule made last session to provide a total of $450 million from the State. In addition, SB2020 includes legislative intent to provide an additional $206 million in future sessions for area flood protection, including the Diversion Project.
SB 2020 also:
On June 10, 2014, President Obama signed a bill into law which authorized construction to move forward on the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project. The signing of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) marked a critical step to acquiring federal funding for the Project, which will build permanent flood protection for approximately 200,000 people in North Dakota and Minnesota.
With authorization secured, the Corps and the local sponsors, represented by Fargo, Moorhead and the Diversion Authority, are working toward signing a project partnership agreement which spells out the cost sharing and construction responsibilities of the Corps of Engineers and the local sponsors.
WRRDA authorized $846 million in federal funding for the Diversion Project. The Diversion Authority is focusing efforts on securing funding to begin construction. Federal funding is expected to be appropriated over time. Funding from the State of North Dakota can only be used for the Diversion once federal funding for construction is received.
Voters in the City of Fargo and Cass County have overwhelmingly approved two dedicated local sales taxes to help fund the Project. With modest growth, the sales taxes are expected to jointly raise $700 million over the life of the tax.