The St. Paul District Commander for the Army Corps of Engineers says he’s confident federal money will be there for the F-M Area Diversion Project.
Col. David Koprowski told the Legislature’s interim Water Topics Overview Committee – the diversion project was one of six new project starts okayed by the Corps.
"Giving us one of those six new starts really demonstrates a federal commitment to this project," Koprowski said. "And that's important."
Koprowski says a $5 million appropriation from the Corps will start the ball rolling on the project. He says the plan is to award the first construction project this fall – and that will be for the diversion inlet control structure. But he told the Committee the language in the authorization requires the environmental impact statement being prepared by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to be completed. Koprowski says that’s scheduled to be completed in May.
"We are confident we can do that," Koprowski said. "We work very closely with the Minnesota DNR, and we have since 2012, when they started the EIS process. I'm confident we can get over this hurdle and mobe on."
Koprowski says there’s no way to say for an absolute certainty that the rest of the federal money will be forthcoming in the future.
"But I will say this: There were six new starts nationwide, and we got one of them," Koprowski told the Committee. "To my way of thinking, you don't spend one of your six if you don't mean it."
Under the “P-3 Plan” – meaning the Public-Private Partnership Plan – the Corps will build the intake and the Southern Embankment, and the diversion channel will be the responsibility of the local sponsors and the developer.