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EPA Selects Fargo-Moorhead for $510M Low-Cost Financing
Minnesota Ag Connection - 10/09/2019

Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, Congressman Kelly Armstrong and Governor Doug Burgum Tuesday joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler in announcing that the Fargo-Moorhead region's flood protection project has been selected to apply for $510 million in low-cost financing under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program. The delegation and governor had worked with Wheeler to secure a formal invitation to apply, a critical step in allowing the project to access this flexible funding source, which will significantly reduce the long-term expenses of the project.

Such invitations are limited through a competitive process, and selection ensures the applicant will receive a loan under the program. Hoeven led the delegation in expressing their support to Wheeler in July on behalf of the project's Letter of Interest (LOI). Hoeven and Burgum spoke again with the administrator last month to further advance the project's selection.

"We've worked hard in recent years to ensure flood protection in the Red River Valley can use the WIFIA program to reduce project costs," said Senator Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee. "This is an important element of our efforts to build permanent, comprehensive flood protection for the region, and it bolsters the increased funding we have advanced for Army Corps construction as well as P3 projects like this one. We appreciate Administrator Wheeler for working with us and selecting the Fargo-Moorhead region to participate in this program, which represents significant savings to local taxpayers."

"I applaud Administrator Wheeler for moving this loan forward and demonstrating once again that the Trump Administration is an attentive, responsive administration, meeting the needs of local communities in North Dakota and across the country," said Senator Cramer. "Our Congressional delegation wrote a letter to Administrator Wheeler urging this action because completing this project means helping protect the lives, livelihoods, and properties of thousands of North Dakotans."

"Innovative financing programs are at the core of 21st century infrastructure projects like the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion," said Congressman Armstrong. "Federal and local cooperation are vital to protect life and property from catastrophic flooding."

"This hugely important loan will reduce the tax burden of the diversion project and give assurances to taxpayers, state legislators and the private market that the project is affordable and moving forward," said Governor Burgum, who advocated for the loan in a phone call with Wheeler last month. "We're deeply grateful to the EPA and Administrator Wheeler for making this financing available and for signing the MOU renewing the EPA's commitment to this longstanding partnership between the states and federal government. No one cares more about a state's land, water and air than the people who live there, and by working with the EPA we can ensure we're utilizing the best practices and policies to protect human health and our natural resources for current and future generations."

"I was pleased to announce that EPA is inviting the Metro Flood Diversion Authority to apply for a water infrastructure loan for a project that would protect hundreds of thousands of North Dakotans from flooding," said Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

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