April 17, 2013 – Yesterday, the North Dakota Senate approved an amendment to House Bill 1020 (by a 24 – 23 vote) that requires the federal government to appropriate its $800 million in funding before the state approves money for the F-M Area Diversion Project. The bill contains the state’s Water Commission budget, which passed 44-3 after the amendment was approved.
Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead Executive Vice President Bryce Johnson says, “On behalf of our nearly 800 member companies, we are calling on the Senate to reconsider their actions yesterday and revisit the vote. North Dakota must take the first step in funding the Diversion project and protect its own citizens!”
The bill allows $450 million in state funding for the diversion project, but it can only be used for levee and dike protection until the full federal share of the cost is appropriated by Congress.
Johnson says, “The local share of funding is being provided over a 20-year sales tax, and the state’s share of the cost would be funded over several biennium. It’s outlandish to ask the federal government to fully fund its share.”
The Diversion project has the second highest economic benefit rating in the country, and the federal government has shown its support by spending nearly $30 million on study and flood protection work over the last four years.
“The Legislature’s actions so far regarding HB 1020 are clearly not supporting the Fargo area and the 200,000 people who live here,” she says. “They are essentially putting our citizens in harm’s way of a historic flood. The divisiveness in our Legislature is very disheartening. This project will protect one out of five North Dakotans. Our Fargo residents should be up in arms and mobilizing to contact their Legislators, especially Senators, about this bill.”
Find your Senator here:
- Ask Senators to reconsider the amendment placed on HB 1020 to show the citizens of Fargo that their state supports protection of their homes, businesses and livelihoods.
- The Diversion is the only plan that can provide 100-year protection.
- 200,000 people live within the Diversion’s protection.
- 100-year protection is needed to eliminate new FEMA flood insurance requirements that could eventually cost some Fargo homeowners holding a mortgage $10,000 to $12,000 per year in premiums.
The HBA of F-M and several business partners including the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber, F-M Area Association of Realtors and the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation support permanent flood protection for the F-M metro market. Community leaders believe that the Diversion needs to be in place if our area is going to remain a viable, growing community with a strong economy. It is vital for attracting larger businesses and industries that provide good income opportunities and attract families and homes.