Governor Jack Dalrymple, Sen. Kent Conrad, Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Rick Berg, announced today they have developed a new plan to fund emergency road improvement projects in the Devils Lake Basin. Dalrymple also met with county commissioners and city officials from basin-area counties today to explain the plan and its benefits.
North Dakota will receive a record $317 million in federal emergency transportation funding this year to assist in repairing roads damaged by flooding throughout the state. The funding includes $100 million for the Devils Lake Basin, but the region's funding needs for emergency road repairs are expected to exceed the Federal Highway Administration's long-standing funding cap.
"Together we are forwarding a plan that will ease the financial burden on counties and cities in the Devils Lake Basin as they work to provide permanent repairs on damaged roads," Dalrymple said. "We need to take care of county roads in need of emergency repair."
Dalrymple and the state's congressional delegation have asked the Federal Highway Administration to approve a revised emergency road repair plan that takes into account lower lake levels in reprioritizing repair projects. If approved, the plan will reduce the funding match obligation for Devils Lake-area counties to about $6 million. During the Special Legislative Session, the state allocated $6 million to the counties for emergency road repair costs.
"The roads in the Devils Lake region are in desperate need of repair. They have been beaten and battered holding back the floodwaters of this runaway lake," Conrad said. "We will continue to push for the federal funding necessary to repair these roads and ensure they're safe for travelers."
"We have been very aggressive in working to secure a record amount of Emergency Relief Program funds to repair roads in North Dakota this year," Hoeven said. "We are continuing to work with the federal Department of Transportation to ensure that we have the funds necessary to repair roads in the Lake Region area, which have been damaged due to repetitive flooding."
"Years of flooding have left Devils Lake roads in desperate need of repair," Berg said. "We will continue to work together with state, local, and federal officials to provide the Devils Lake region with critically-needed support, and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure that the repairs are completed soon."
Also included in the federal funding for emergency road repairs is: $43 million for the Mouse River Basin; $63 million for the James River Basin; more than $10 million for the Sheyenne/James Basin and $100 million for statewide infrastructure projects.
The revised plan for emergency road repairs is not related to and will not affect the state's regular federal-aid road construction program and it will not compromise the safety of the state's transportation system, state Department of Transportation Director Francis Ziegler said.