Fargo mayor: Use Legacy Fund money to help build the Red River Valley Water Supply Project

Feb 26, 2018

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney testifies to the Legislature's interim Water Topics Committee.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Work is continuing on plans for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project.

That project will bring Missouri River Water to the Red River Valley and other areas of Central and Eastern North Dakota in times of drought.

It has a more than $1 billion price tag. And Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said that price tag can be a bit scary – especially for smaller communities along the route.

"Everyone wants to have drought protection in our state," Mahoney said in an interview. "But it's an investment."

Mahoney is suggesting using the state’s Legacy Fund as a source for those communities to borrow the money for their share of the project cost.

"If I can do a loan to a small community with a two percent interest rate over 50 years, it's going to be paid back," Mahoney said. "It's not like giving a grant."

Mahoney said using that fund will also mean an investment in North Dakota.

"The Legacy Fund gets a little less return on its investment," Mahoney said. "But it will serve a purpose for the state's future."

Mahoney made that suggestion to the Legislature’s interim Water Topics Committee.