Last week, on February 28th, Fargo’s Mayor Walaker was interviewed by Chris Berg on POV (Point of View), on Fargo’s KX-KVLY.
The topic was Fargo’s reaction over to HB 1020. The bill would give Fargo $1O2 million dollars to bring the city’s flood protection measures up to 42.5 feet, nearly two feet more than the height of the greatest Fargo flood in recorded history. Far from being grateful, the Fargo Mayor complained that the ND House, by amendment, would limit the use of the state funds to building up internal protections, and prohibit the use of those tax dollars for Fargo’s Army Corps’ diversion project.
Fargo has been working with the Army Corps designing a project, estimated to cost in excess of $2 billion dollars, to dam and divert area’s rivers. Federal approval and funding of the project is uncertain at best and several years down the road at the earliest.
In last week’s interview Fargo’s Mayor lamented about the restrictions placed on the money. He was clear that he intended to have the restriction removed so that Fargo could begin immediate construction on the mammoth project.
Thus was Rep. Al Carlson wholly vindicated by his support of the controls placed on the funds. Fargo’s leaders do not care whether or when federal funding is approved, if ever. If left to their own discretion they will use state monies to commit state and local taxpayers to a multi-billion dollar project for which federal funding may never appear. Fargo wants this project even if that means obligating the state for 100 percent of its $2 billion dollar price tag. Fargo legislator Carlson made the right decision for North Dakota.
If Fargo leaders want an Army Corps project – let them secure the federal funds before obligating the state of North Dakota.