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Diversion gets more good news

Supporters of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion had reason to cheer last week. Several developments, including crucial federal funding, moved the massive, multiyear project ahead. As has been the pattern since the project was proposed and engineered, ...

Supporters of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion had reason to cheer last week. Several developments, including crucial federal funding, moved the massive, multiyear project ahead. As has been the pattern since the project was proposed and engineered, progress has been steady and methodical, despite legal and regulatory hurdles, some cleared, others yet to be cleared.
The news last week and in recent weeks is a hat trick for the diversion. First, the federal omnibus spending bill includes $690 million for the project in extra funding, which means state funding that could not be released until federal money was secured will become available. North Dakota’s bipartisan congressional delegation wins high praise for their efforts.
Second, the top brass of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reiterated strong support for the diversion, stressing that the proposed public/private (the P3) funding mechanism is innovative and more efficient than relying entirely on congressional appropriations.
Third, local support has not softened, even as upstream opponents of the project continued a selective and self-serving critical barrage. Metro business leaders responded with a series of fact-based television spots that reminded residents why the project is needed. That effort underscores the informed conclusion among business people, homeowners and others in Fargo and Moorhead that the diversion is the only viable long-term strategy to protect against a catastrophic flood.
The new federal money and the corps’ enthusiastic support are encouraging developments for the Diversion Authority, the local sponsoring agency. The authority is moving to secure a law firm to develop the P3 plan, and is considering a bidding process that will reflect the more reliable funding stream.
A project as big and complicated as the diversion is going to have stops and starts. The challenges, both legitimate and not so legitimate, were anticipated. But the obvious picture is this: The diversion project is moving ahead. The members of the authority have done extraordinary work in holding the focus on the goal. Their work is paying off.

Related Topics: FARGO-MOORHEAD DIVERSION
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