Hoeven Outlines Six-Year Highway Bill for Builders and Contractors; Measure Moves Nearly 160 New Projects

Measure Includes More Than $1.6 Billion for North Dakota Roads, Creating Jobs, Economic Activity Statewide

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today outlined the Senate’s new six-year highway bill at an open house of the Associated Builders and Contractors. The measure will provide North Dakota with more than $1.6 billion. Hoeven said the formula is favorable to North Dakota and increases highway funding for the state to $270 million, about $30 million a year more than it currently receives.

The Senate also passed a 90-day, short-term House measure that extends highway funding until October 29 while the two chambers work to finalize a long-term bill.

“Last week, Business Insider Magazine ranked the economy in North Dakota tops in the nation, with a 2014 GDP growth rate of 6.3 percent and the highest average wage growth rate of 7.1 percent,” Hoeven said. “The economic benefits from the new highway bill will ripple through North Dakota’s economy and benefit builders and contractors across our state.”

Hoeven said travel on North Dakota highways increased by 71 percent between 1990 and 2013, and the state’s population has grown by 10 percent, mostly in the last decade. About 70 percent of the $27 billion in commodities delivered annually from sites in North Dakota is carried by trucks on the state’s highways.

The legislation will help to fund nearly 160 major projects statewide, including:

  • North Washington Street project in Bismarck: A $17 million project that would widen North Washington from Calgary Avenue to 57th Avenue, replace signal light crossings and level some of the roadway.
  • Construction on Highway 2 in western North Dakota
  • 12th Avenue in Fargo/West Fargo
  • Interstate 29 work near Fargo
  • ND Highway 200 near Cooperstown
  • ND Highway 20 south of Devils Lake

The Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act reauthorizes the nation’s transportation programs for six years. The bill provides $350 billion in contract authority for the 2015-2021 period. The measure makes up for a lack of highway trust fund revenues by adding about $45 billion in offsets. The bill does not increase the deficit or increase taxes.

DRIVE Act Highlights for North Dakota:

  • Increases Transportation Funding for North Dakota by maintaining the federal aid highway formula structure and increasing the amount each state will receive every year.
    • ND will receive an average of $270 million a year in formula funding over six years, an average of $30 million more than current state funding.
    • Makes completing transportation projects easier by making National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) reforms, cutting red tape.
    • Provides six years of increased funding, giving state and local governments the certainty and stability they need to improve and develop our nation’s transportation infrastructure.
    • Increases Transit Funding to North Dakota from more than $14 million in the first year to more than $17 million by the sixth year. The bill increases funding nearly $1.5 billion over MAP-21 levels.
    • Improves Safety: The bill’s safety and regulatory title makes important enhancements for safer highways as well as freight and passenger rail service through effective implementation of new technologies, new tools for federal safety watchdog agencies, reforming grant programs for states and transparency that promotes accountability.
    • Includes a New National Freight Strategy and Strategic Plan to improve freight transportation networks that serve agriculture, retail, manufacturing and energy sectors.
    • Includes the Federal Permitting Improvement Act to improve the permitting process for major capital (more than $200 million in investment) projects across sectors, including energy.
    • Includes Funding Assistance for Major Projects (AMP) Program to provide grants for large projects of national or regional significance; includes at least a 20 percent set aside for rural areas.