There’s no shortage of need. We’re dealing with a shortage of funding. That was today’s message to the Ward County Commission from the administrator of the group spearheading the Mouse River Flood Protection project.
Ryan Ackerman said if there were unlimited funding, the billion-dollar project could be finished in seven years. Instead, there’s a constant search for local, state, and federal funds to keep the project moving.
Ackerman reported progress in getting the federal government to become a partner in a key portion of the project, the Maple Diversion – known as Phase Four. But even if the Corps of Engineers approves getting involved, it will still be very difficult to actually receive the estimated 50-million dollars that might be proposed.
That’s because the Corps estimates a benefit of $1.40 for each one dollar of federal cost.
Ackerman says that’s not a big enough benefit-cost ratio to unlock the federal money.
(Ryan Ackerman, Souris River Joint Board) “There’s a surplus of projects and not enough funding to complete them all. Which basically means that the cutoff for getting federal funding is a benefit-cost ratio of somewhere between 2.0 and 2.5. So we might end up being in line for a while to get federal dollars to come into the project.”
Construction on the first three phases of the project will begin in the spring.
They should be finished in three years at a cost of 100-million dollars.