I live in rural southeast North Dakota. Our township roads have been continuously under water for the last eight years. Many roads are already minimum maintenance. Our townships say they have no money to gravel or even keep the farm-to-market roads maintained. Many farmers are worried that they seriously will not be able to get to their fields this spring because of the roads.
What state resources do the township and counties have to be able to at least keep main roads built up and passable for todayâ€™s larger farm equipment? Apparently FEMA wasn’t the answer.
Thanks for writing! Hereâ€™s what Jamie Olson from the state Department of Transportation said:
â€œState funding is distributed to each county through the state treasurerâ€™s office. The county utilizes the funding to address a variety of needs in their area, which may include infrastructure projects such as water lines and roadways.
â€œLocal residents should work with their applicable township officials and/or county commissioners to discuss available resources for local roads. State residents can access reports on funding at the state treasurerâ€™s website http://web.apps.state.nd.us/stn/inquiry/SearchSelection.aspx.â€
North Dakota legislators also recently approved $60 million in one-time funding for the stateâ€™s non-oil producing counties in the Department of Transportation budget. Eighty percent is for cities and counties and 20 percent is for townships.
â€œIt will be up to those respective entities to determine how they spend those dollars,â€ Olson said. â€œAgain, local residents should work with their applicable township official to discuss what resources are available or may become available for local roads.â€
I also talked to Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown, who has an interest in this issue. He advises to keep your voice out there.
â€œMake sure your legislators and your commissioners are aware of your concerns or your issues regarding the roads,â€ he said.
The Legislature recently approved a study that will look at transportation infrastructure needs for county and township roads in the state. This will help legislators determine funding needs for the 2013 legislative session.
â€œIâ€™m hoping we have a study in hand before we come back next time where we can enhance that $60 million and maybe even do more,â€ Wanzek said.
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