City gives Clay board OK for $12.34M fed grant

 Clay County Commission

Dan Haglund

Lisa Bode from the City of Moorhead appeared before the Clay County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday seeking a letter of support for a $12.34 million federal grant to vastly reduce standing water after major rain events within the city. She got it.

Bode, the city’s governmental affairs director, explains that the PROTECT Grant, available through the U.S. Department of Transportation, will help pay for a climate-resilient storm water mitigation project.

This project is planned for the near-south areas of Moorhead.

The PROTECT Grant stands for Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation, and was passed under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The program has $848 million available nationally for applications.

It has been earmarked to provide funding to ensure surface transportation resilience to natural hazards including climate change, sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather events, and other natural disasters through support of planning activities, resilience improvements, community resilience and evacuation routes, and at-risk coastal infrastructure.

“Rainfall events are more frequent and heavier in duration,” Bode said. “We have significant issues with street flooding that affect transportation.”

The federal grant requires a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA), which has already been completed.

Bode said the city worked with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency last year, completing a study of this area, and have come up with a plan that would reduce flooding in a significant portion of Moorhead.

The joint plan estimates there would be a 42 percent reduction in acreage flooded, 58 percent reduction in structures impacted, and a 24 percent reduction in road intersections impacted. It would also reduce the number of manholes impacted by 10 percent, as well as public spaces impacted by 2.6 percent.

“Because of the study with MPCA, we’re in a good position to apply for this funding,” Bode said. “We’re seeking $12.34 million for this project, and we’ll match it with redoing streets and our engineering costs.”

Commissioner Dave Ebinger, Dist. 5, inquired to Bode if longtime city engineer Bob Zimmerman approved of the idea and project.

“He is. And he would be here if he didn’t have another commitment this morning.” Bode answered.

“Well, if it’s good enough for Bob, I’d like to make a motion that we send a letter of support on behalf of the city of Moorhead for this grant,” Ebinger stated. He was seconded by Commissioner Paul Krabbenhoft, Dist. 1.

The motion passed unanimously.

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