Senator Hoeven was in Minot yesterday with U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Chief Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite. After a round table discussion that included representatives from many other federal agencies on the topic of funding Minot’s current and future phases of flood protection, General Semonite signed the Chief’s report — the culmination of a nearly 3-year feasibility study conducted by the Corps.
It means the project has passed a big hurdle with regards to federal funding. The full news release from Senator Hoeven’s office is below.
— Official News Release, Senator Hoeven —
MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today marked the signing of the Chief’s report for comprehensive flood protection in the Souris River Valley by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Chief Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite. Hoeven hosted Semonite in Minot for the signing ceremony and to review the region’s project. This comes as a result of the senator’s efforts to finalize the report, necessary to allow the project to receive federal authorization and funding for phase 4.
Hoeven also leveraged the occasion to bring together a wide range of federal, state and local officials for a meeting in Minot to help identify funding sources to build the future phases of the region’s flood protection project. Hoeven is working to ensure that once the first four phases of the project are complete, which will provide flood protection for 60 percent of Souris River Valley residents, there will be funding in place to advance phases five through eight and deliver flood protection for the region.
“Finalizing the Chief’s report is a vital step in getting congressional authorization and funding for the project and bringing together the first four phases, and we appreciate Lt. Gen. Semonite for working with us on this priority,” Hoeven said. “At the same time, we need to keep looking forward, because this project is ultimately about protecting the Souris River Valley region from the threat of flooding. That’s why we are bringing together many different agencies, so we can identify funding opportunities and start developing a plan to secure those funds down the road for phases five through eight.”
Finalizing the Chief’s Report for Phase 4
Hoeven serves as a member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, where he secured a total of $1.3 million for the Minot region’s feasibility study. Following this, Hoeven had been pressing Lt. Gen. Semonite, including leading a delegation letter to him in February, to sign the Chief’s report to approve the study, a necessary step in securing congressional authorization, which is required for federal funding. The Corps’ study has identified the fourth phase Maple Diversion as the preferred part of the project to receive federal support, and the Corps would fund 65 percent of its construction.
Preparing for Phases 5 through 8
In addition to the USACE, the agencies represented at today’s event include:
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- North Dakota Department of Commerce.
- North Dakota Water Commission.
Hoeven serves as chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee, as well as a member of the committees overseeing funding for DOT, HUD and FEMA. Through these roles, he will work to ensure the Minot region can access support under the federal programs identified in today’s meeting when constructing the upcoming phases, which include:
- Phase 5 – a levee tieback system in northeast Minot. Hoeven is working with city officials and BNSF to develop a plan that addresses outstanding concerns with the phase, including its design interactions with BNSF railroad tracks.
- Phase 6 – the downtown floodwall, South Roosevelt Park floodwall and levee and South Valker Road levee.
- Phases 7 and 8 – the North Roosevelt levee, North Valker Road levee, 27th Street diversion and Keller levee.