Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

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 today’s larger farm equipment? Apparently FEMA wasn’t the answer.

Renee Haseleu

Litchville, N.D.

Thanks for writing! Here’s what Jamie Olson from the state Department of Transportation said:

“State funding is distributed to each county through the state treasurer’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.

“Local 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 treasurer’s website http://web.apps.state.nd.us/stn/inquiry/SearchSelection.aspx.”

North Dakota legislators also recently approved $60 million in one-time funding for the state’s non-oil producing counties in the Department of Transportation budget. Eighty percent is for cities and counties and 20 percent is for townships.

“It will be up to those respective entities to determine how they spend those dollars,” Olson said. “Again, local residents should work with their applicable township official to discuss what resources are available or may become available for local roads.”

I also talked to Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown, who has an interest in this issue. He advises to keep your voice out there.

“Make sure your legislators and your commissioners are aware of your concerns or your issues regarding the roads,” 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.

“I’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,” Wanzek said.

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail politics@wday.com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, N.D. 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

One thought on “Today’s Ask Your Government

  1. Having just read the article about township roads in the eastern part of the state, I would like to have you analyze the situation in the western part of the State.
    There is the possibility of a development of a 200 acre tract of land to put modular homes, stick built home and manufactured dwellings on this tract which has a well thought out development plan for all the infrastructure that would need to take place.
    However, the County and Township leaders argue that the road is not adequate for this development to take place. What funding is there available for the County and particularly the Township out there so we can present this figure and some thoughts on how to acquire this funding when we meet with them on the 26th of this month – the Planning and Zoning Commitee. There is approximately 3 to 3 1/2 miles of township road that would have to be maintained. What would the general cost of this be to (just a guesstimate) to do an upgrade on this road to widen it and make it more accessible?
    Your thoughts on this would be extremely helpful to us.
    Thanks much.

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