A measure that would authorize a Red River flood diversion project should reach the Senate floor Monday, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Wednesday.
The nearly $2 billion proposal, which would move water around Fargo in a 36-mile channel during times of serious flooding, is part of the 2013 Water Resources Development Act.
Authorization would allow construction to begin, but the federal funding would need to be appropriated each year to cover the construction costs, which would be shared by local, state and federal governments.
The Republican Hoeven, who appeared with his Democratic colleague Wednesday at a public meeting about flooding, touted both the decision to hear the bill next week along with a recent funding increase for project design.
"Both of those are good steps and big steps," Hoeven said.
Hoeven and Klobuchar said they have spoken with President Barack Obama about the project. Shortly after that meeting the administration bumped up its 2013 allocation for design and engineering from $4.5 million to $7.4 million.
"The president has mentioned several times actually in that past week ... at public events mentioning the flooding in the Midwest and that our concerns should be there," Klobuchar said. "So I think he's well aware of it."
The water bill still will need to go to the House after the Senate.