ND lawmakers propose more state aid for US 85

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm •  Published: July 8, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A group of North Dakota lawmakers is suggesting legislation that would devote more oil tax money to highway corridors impacted by energy development.

The 12-member Energy Development and Transmission Committee unveiled draft legislation Tuesday that would set aside $75 million each two-year budget cycle for major improvements and construction of highway corridors. The committee's proposal would give priority to U.S. Highway 85, the main north-south corridor in western North Dakota's oil patch and a road that has seen an exponential increase of traffic with the oil boom.

The bill will be considered by the Legislature when it convenes in January.

The Legislature previously earmarked more than $300 million to make the 46 miles of U.S. 85 between Williston and Watford City four lanes. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2015, state Transportation Director Grant Levi said.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, is chairman of the Energy Development and Transmission Committee. Wardner said using the additional oil tax revenue for highway improvements would not take way from other pressing needs in areas impacted by oil drilling.

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