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F-M Diversion Project Gets Approval from the U.S. Senate - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

F-M Diversion Project Gets Approval from the U.S. Senate

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They're calling it "a day to celebrate." Today F-M Diversion advocates are on cloud nine after a bill authorizing the massive flood mitigation project was approved by the U.S. Senate. Now the bill still has to be signed by President Obama but state leaders say that's expected to happen soon. Valley News team's Eric Crest tells us what's expected to happen with this project and how soon.

Initially supporters of the F-M Diversion project didn't think that we'd see a final product until about 20-27. But if the president puts his John Hancock to their bill sooner rather than later state leaders say we could be done with the one point eight billion dollar diversion in as little as five or six years. They expect to break ground and start digging a channel in Fargo as soon as next spring. The funding will come from a combination of local, state and federal funds just as soon as President Obama puts his name on the proposal.

Minnesota has only put aside about 100 million for the project. Local governments will pitch in 450 million dollars and North Dakota won't chip in its share of another 450 million dollars until the federal government anti's up it's 800 million in funding first.

"We've secured about 70 million dollars that's already going to dikes and levies and home buyouts. The key now is we can actually start construction on the diversion that's why this is such a huge step today," says Senator John Hoeven.

The federal funding will have to appropriated by congress on a yearly basis. But right now the big question that remains is how that funding will be continually generated each year by the fed's. Senator Hoeven tells Valley News Live that the conversation pertaining to that has already begun. 

The diversion is said to protect about 200 thousand people in the valley when it is completed. It could start as soon as next spring.
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