Murphy’s Law 2021 #55 – Money to Infrastructure

November 13, 2021

This special session is still going but I left Bismarck on Thursday because those issues central to agriculture were resolved and to what I see as a satisfactory end. From ARPA dollars that this session was to distribute, at least $200 million must be used for highway roads and bridges. $24.6 million is designated for grants to counties for their bridge projects based on an application process developed by North Dakota Department of Transportation. $80 million for county roads and bridge needs as identified by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute with a $3 million cap per county. Townships get $17 million with $8.5 million sent out to them in January of 2022 within non-oil producing counties using the miles of maintained road formula. On that same date, the other $8.5 million will be sent out to non-oil county townships at a flat rate (the # of townships divided into $8.5 million). There could well be more money coming to townships as there is another $10 million currently held by DOT for townships that they would like to match through federal funds, but no one has a clear answer at that time.

Another $75 million added to the Department of Water Resources (formerly the State Water Commission) bodes well for some rural water improvements. The other biggie is $150 million for a natural gas pipeline across northern ND. It is a $1 billion project so I had to do some discussion yesterday for legislative intent language recognizing that more will be needed from the state come next regular session. Obviously there are numerous value-added ag projects that would be made possible with this gas. Then there is the new federal infrastructure bill which passed last week. Our state legislators might have to go back again to deal with that at some point this winter.