House committee hears from cities that will lose DOT maintenance shops

Mar 3, 2017

People from the eight North Dakota cities that would lose their local Department of Transportation shops packed a hearing room at the state Capitol – to try and get the House to restore those cuts.

The reductions already passed the Senate – and a hearing was held before the House Appropriations Government Operations section.

Boyd McKenzie is a businessman from Courtenay – one of the cities that would lose a DOT shop. He said his concern is about snow removal.

"Our gusy at our local shop -- they stay at the shop when a storm is forecast," McKenzie said. "They get the roads opened up."

McKenzie said if that shop is closed, the city would have to pick up plowing services from Valley City, Jamestown, Cooperstown or Carrington.

"We've had issues going that way with trucks this winter," McKenzie said. "Jamestown and Carrington can't keep the roads open they're already working with."

McKenzie said if Courtenay has to wait for a plow from the other cities, it could affect responding to fires and medical emergencies.

His concerns were echoed by Lyle Kovar, a city council member from New England.

"Our school buses come across the road, west on Highway 21, on Highway 67 going south," Kovar said. "Those are secondary roads., compared to the Interstates. So they'd probably be on the back end of the burner as far as getting plowed out."

The subcommittee will make a recommendation to the full House Appropriations Committee. That panel has to act before the House gets to vote on the bill.