Bismarck – 2.5 billion dollars…that’s the shortfall in funding the North Dakota Department of Transportation is facing beginning this year through 2023. The report, released by TRIP, a national transportation research group, shows the number of roads scheduled to be resurfaced will drop by 24-percent by 2024. That’s because infrastructure funding from the oil boom has dropped to just 194-million dollars this year. Which is down from a high of 619 million dollars last year.
“North Dakota which from 2000-2014 saw the greatest increase in vehicle travel and economic growth, which are all positives, that increase has put a lot of wear and tear on the system and without additional resources, the state and local governments don’t have the investment necessary to improve the conditions of the system.” Said Rocki Moretti with TRIP.
Interstate 94 in Mandan is one of 23 road sections across the state that’s been identified as not having the funding to be repaired or reconstructed. And a rough road today could result in you digging a little deeper into your wallet tomorrow.
In fact, projections in the report show that vehicle operation costs because of poor road conditions are expected to cost each driver across the state nearly $500 a year. That’s $500 extra per year you may need to fix your car because it was damaged by a pothole or rough road surface the department says they currently don’t have the money to fix.
“Our current revenues are currently not keeping up with the inflationary factor we’re seeing with construction, so unless we start to address that long term, our roadway conditions are going to deteriorate.” said Steve Salwei with ND DOT
But by how much you may ask, well the Department is estimating that the lack of funding will cause the number of roads statewide classified as being in poor condition will nearly double between now and 2021 from 443 miles to nearly 900 miles of road.
There has been talk of several fixes to address this problem but nothing concrete. One solution could be to raise the state gas tax, which currently stands at 23 cents a gallon and hasn’t been raised in 13 years. Also, being floated around is raising motor vehicle registration fees, which have also not been altered since 2005. One thing we know for sure is that lawmakers have a lot to consider once the session starts, January 3rd.
Here’s the complete list of projects that lack proper funding…