The Fargo Forum describing the needs of Eastern North Dakota in a recent editorial is important, but to pit East versus West in terms of funding water projects needs correcting, because they forget to cite many facts that are important.
I am proud to report that the North Dakota Legislature has supported water and flood protection projects in Eastern North Dakota at historic levels in the past 3 sessions. In fact, if the Forum editorialists were to take a close look at the State Water Commission Budget passed in the last session, it was a very good session for the Red River Valley and Fargo.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]It doesn’t matter what district we represent, nor what party we belong to, there is vast recognition of the value of protecting and supporting Fargo and the Red River Valley’s flood protection and water supply projects. [/mks_pullquote]
The State Water Commission budget, which is funded almost entirely from the oil extraction tax, includes a total commitment of $570 million for interior and diversion flood control, which is an increase of $120 million. There is also an intent to fund a water supply project to the Valley of $600 million. Additionally over $12 million was made available to continue to the study and planning of the project. Another historic commitment was made to help fund the Grand Forks water treatment facility of $60 million. These projects are large, they are important and they show that the legislature is trying to meet the needs of all areas of the state when it comes to water.
The ND Water Commission has over $263 million sitting in bank accounts earmarked for flood control in the Fargo area, water treatment plant, and interior flood control projects. The state is ready to partner with local areas when those officials make the decisions necessary to start their processes of decision making and construction. Any of those delays are not caused by the state or the legislature.
I serve in the North Dakota House from a western community, and I am proud to support projects, water and others, in the Eastern areas of North Dakota. We need to work together to build the infrastructure in the entire state. It doesn’t matter what district we represent, nor what party we belong to, there is vast recognition of the value of protecting and supporting Fargo and the Red River Valley’s flood protection and water supply projects.
I would encourage the Fargo Forum to take a closer look at the facts, and not play the game of East versus West. That game ended long ago, because in the end nobody won.
Rep. Streyle sits on the Legislature’s interim Water Topics Committee