Federal funding to help pay for flood protection along the Mouse River is a step closer to reality.
The Chief of the Corps of Engineers signed his name to a document that is key to bringing tens of millions of dollars into the project.
Jim Olson has details.
Lieutenant General Todd Semonite put his name on what’s called the Chief’s Report – a long document that now goes to Congress with the Corps’ recommendation to Congress that federal funds should be spent on the Mouse River Flood Protection Project.
Specifically, the report approves federal participation in Phase Four of the project – that’s known as the Maple Diversion that will connect the first three phases – now under construction – and provide protection to the north side of the river in Minot – about 60% of the valley.
Today, the Corps committed to about 87-million dollars in support for Phase Four of the 8-phase project.
(Lt.Gen. Todd Semonite, US Army Corps of Engineers) “When I signed the chief’s report, I signed the authorization. The next thing is to work with Congress to be able to fight for the funding to get this construction to start.”
(Sen. John Hoeven, (R) ND) “It’s about getting a plan in place for all eight phases and getting a timeline to get the work done.”
Today’s signing happened at a meeting among many of the key players in the flood control – and the flood insurance – question for the Minot area.
Hoeven says he is pursuing coordination with FEMA to limit the potentially large increases in flood insurance rates for areas of the valley not protected by the flood control project.
All told, the project is expected to cost about one billion dollars – and local officials are hoping that more federal involvement will be coming, to reduce the financial impact on local and state taxpayers.
And today’s document signing is considered a major step in that direction.