Costs of Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion plan riseby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Moorhead, Minn. — Officials in Fargo-Moorhead learned Wednesday that costs for a proposed flood diversion channel has increased by $200 million.
The Army Corps of Engineers says projected costs will increase to an estimated $1.7 billion.
The increase is the result of design changes to reduce downstream impacts caused by diverting part of the Red River around cities. The new plan would hold back water upstream of the Fargo-Moorhead area during a flood, reducing the effect downstream. The plan would potentially require buying out several hundred homes in developments south of Fargo-Moorhead.
North Dakota has committed to helping fund the project and has set aside money in the state budget. Some officials want a similar financial commitment from Minnesota.
Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said that's unlikely.
"Minnesota historically has not really stepped forward until there is a project," Voxland said. "A project means an authorized project from Congress. If that's the case, they're saying to me until we get this authorized — hopefully in 2012 — they're not interested in talking with us and making that commitment."
Voxland said despite the cost, the project is critical to protecting the metro area from annual floods.
"We're all tired of this type of an effort," Voxland said. "My staff, I know Fargo's staff [too], is tired of blowing the first few months of every year just getting ready for a flood fight. There's other things we need to do to have a city that works."
There's also disagreement over how local costs for the project will be divided between Minnesota and North Dakota.