Local roads will benefit from latest state fundingLocal road infrastructure will see a boost in funding with an emergency appropriations bill signed into law by Gov. Jack Dalrymple this week. The bill provides more than $4 million in assistance to Stutsman County and its political subdivisions, according to Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown.
By: By Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Local road infrastructure will see a boost in funding with an emergency appropriations bill signed into law by Gov. Jack Dalrymple this week.
The bill provides more than $4 million in assistance to Stutsman County and its political subdivisions, according to Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown.
“This distributes money from dedicated taxes for roads,” Wanzek said. “These are gas taxes, fuel taxes, motor vehicle registration. Those revenues are up 44 percent.”
Senate Bill 2176 appropriated $720 million for roads across North Dakota. The bulk will be used for the state highway system and road updates in the Oil Patch. Wanzek said $100 million was set aside for the non-oil-impacted areas of the state including Stutsman County.
As a fast-tracked emergency bill, SB 2176 moved through the North Dakota Legislature quickly. The appropriations became official with the governor’s signature on Feb. 4. This will allow projects funded by the bill to be bid immediately for construction this summer.
Wanzek estimated that Stutsman County could see about $1.7 million while Jamestown would receive more than $800,000. The bill has special benefits for townships, which have struggled with road costs.
“Every township gets a $15,000 grant plus funding through a formula,” he said. “It should average about $25,000 per township in Stutsman County. It is one-time funding to get debt cleared up and do some work.”
The 64 townships of Stutsman County owed the county about $900,000 for road work and snow removal as of the start of 2013, according to Mickey Nenow, Stutsman County road superintendent. Much of the road work was related to the heavy snows and high water of the winters of 2009 and 2010.
“For most townships it would clear their debts,” he said. “A lot of the townships are still waiting on FEMA money so this will help them clear up what is on the books.”
Stutsman County will likely combine the funds with money already available for a couple of road projects, according to Dave Schwartz, Stutsman County commissioner.
“The plan we submitted to the state includes a couple of priorities,” he said. “A section of Old Highway 10 at Spiritwood is part of the plan and from Medina north to Woodworth is a priority road.”
A mile-long section of Old Highway 10 at Spiritwood is part of the access to the Spiritwood Energy Park area and has been planned for an upgrade because of anticipated increased traffic there during the planned construction of the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol plant and the CHS Inc. nitrogen plant.
Schwartz said the new state money will likely be combined with federal highway aid funds and other sources giving the county about $5 million for road work this year.
“The projects we’re looking at could total about $6 million,” he said. “We might have to do some of the work in two stages.”
Jeff Fuchs, Jamestown city administrator, said the city had not discussed any possible plan for the funds but may consider a project to upgrade the underground infrastructure below the viaduct.
Wanzek said the current bill should be considered a one-time payment and a response to the need for road work.
“It is a wise use of surplus dollars,” he said. “We need to take care of infrastructure.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com