Gov. Jack Dalrymple today signed into law Senate Bill 2176, making $720 million immediately available for statewide highway and road improvement projects. Dalrymple recommended and the Legislature agreed to "fast track" the legislation so that construction projects can begin at the onset of the 2013 construction season.
"This appropriation will be part of a larger transportation funding package," Dalrymple said. "With this funding immediately available, the Department of Transportation can move forward on statewide road improvement projects without delay.
"We are committed to meeting the needs of our growing state, and that includes addressing critical infrastructure improvements that will enhance the safety of our traveling public," Dalrymple said.
Legislative leaders fast tracked a portion of Dalrymple's proposed $2.7 billion road and highway improvement package and included an emergency clause in the bill to expedite highway and road projects slated for western North Dakota and other areas of the state. Without priority action, the funding would not be available until after June 30 and well into the construction season. Some key road projects in western North Dakota and elsewhere may have been delayed until the following year.
Joining Dalrymple for the bill's signing were the legislation's sponsors: Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, House Majority Leader Al Carlson, Sen. Ray Holmberg, Sen. Gary Lee, Rep. Jeff Delzer and Rep. Blair Thoreson.
"We have an ambitious plan for road and highway improvements across the state and by making this funding available right away we can move forward with projects as soon as the construction season begins," Wardner said.
"Fast tracking the appropriation was important so that the Department of Transportation can begin construction earlier in the year," Carlson said.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is now able to accelerate the design, purchasing of right-of-way, bidding and awarding of priority roadway projects. The NDDOT will begin bidding projects this month, said Grant Levi, the department's interim director.
Projects scheduled for the 2013 construction season include:
Continued construction to convert U.S. Highway 85, between Watford City and Williston, into a four-lane highway.
Roadway improvements along U.S. Highway 2.
Roadway reconstruction on ND Highway 8.
Additional roadway improvements along ND Highway 22.
Reconstruction on portions of ND Highway 2.
Resurfacing on U.S. Highway 52.
Roadway improvements on ND Highway 1804.
Roadway improvements on ND Highway 1806.
The appropriation makes available $620 million for major highway improvement projects in North Dakota's oil-producing region and in other areas of the state. The bill also includes $100 million for local road projects in cities, counties and townships in non-oil producing counties.
In all, Dalrymple has proposed a funding package totaling $2.7 billion for road and highway improvement projects, bypass routes, interchanges and for other statewide infrastructure upgrades during the 2013-2015 biennium. The governor's funding package includes nearly $1 billion for infrastructure improvements in the state's oil-producing counties, including $142 million for county and township road improvements and $214 million to enhance the region's Energy Impact Grant program.