The last Ag and Natural Resources Committee meeting lasted about 90 minutes in Fargo and was kicked off by the new president of NDSU, Dr. David Cook. He discussed his past experience in higher education in both Iowa and Kansas and gave an update on how he has hit the ground running by going around the state visiting each of the eight NDSU Research stations. I was impressed with his down-home demeanor and wish him the best as I presume, we all do.
Next up was the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI) in cooperation with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) concerning the study of Long Combination Vehicles (LCVs aka Road Trains). The new study results, with more than 60 pages, showed the committee the great lengths that UGPTI and NDDOT went to do the best job possible. Unfortunately, due somewhat to a lack of allowable routes that made economic sense, no one volunteered to take part in the pilot project, so the study learned very little. One observer was heard to say, “Until the Feds make the routes legal, this is not going to happen in North Dakota.” Unfortunately, perhaps, this seems to be the case.
Then there was a Legislative Council attorney who briefed the committee on the status of a resolution our state legislature sent to D.C. requesting some changes to water-related matters, especially easements. It was a short report because there has not been a hearing scheduled in Congress for this session, nor does it appear to be in the offing.
North Dakota Ag groups thanked Legislators as well as NDDOT Director William Panos for the recent meeting which stopped the installation of rigid roadside delineators on roads with shoulders less than 8 feet. Delineators were installed every tenth of a mile and could have been destroyed when farm vehicles had to pull over for traffic to pass. Or perhaps the delineators’ presence would have deterred pulling over, causing all sorts of variable problems. Now the delineators will be mounted on floppy posts which will spring back up if overrun. There was also an announcement of the North Dakota tour for EPA employees happening next week.
Legislators adjourned, went to the Sons of Norway for lunch across the street and later toured various buildings in the Waldron Hall complex, that are on the SBARE priority list for a redo as well as the modern greenhouses and some other spots. They are done for the Interim.
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