FARGO, N.D. - EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler closed out his trip to North Dakota with major news for state’s largest city and its flood diversion project. Wheeler, joined by Gov. Doug Burgum, as well as republican senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, announced an invitation to apply for more than $500 million in loans that will cut costs.
The $2.75 billion diversion project will protect nearly 245,000 people and a vital economic engine for the entire state of North Dakota. The $561 million loan through the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) represents about half of the $1.1 billion local share of the project.
The Diversion Authority estimates the low-interest loan will help avoid about $600 million in financing costs on the project, due to the long-term nature of the loan and the ability to sculpt the payments. Revenue from sales taxes approved by voters in Fargo and Cass County will be used to pay back the loan.
“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 Burgum.