House Democratic leader has concerns over GOP infrastructure plan

Jul 29, 2018

The North Dakota House Democratic leader said he’s taking a deep dive into the GOP Leadership plan for funding infrastructure development statewide.

The Republican leaders are proposing three new “buckets” for funding from oil taxes. $115 million would go toward cities’ infrastructure needs, $115 million would go for counties and townships, and $50 million would be set aside for airports.

House Minority Leader Corey Mock (D-Grand Forks) said Democrats also see a need for infrastructure improvements statewide. But Mock said a proposal to give townships money for roads and bridges was vetoed in 2017 by Gov. Doug Burgum – and the GOP majority failed to bring that up for an override.

"If it's a priority today, it should have been a priority over a year ago," Mock said.

Mock saidys he’s also concerned these new “buckets” are at the bottom of the list when it comes to funding from the oil taxes.

"If we see a decline in production or a drop in prices, like we did in 2014, they're not going to receive anything," Mock said. "If we're going to invest any of our oil revenues into communities across North Dakota, we need to move them high into the formula, make them a priority, and make sure they have a dependable source of funding."

Mock said Democrats have some of their own ideas about infrastructure funding, and they’re willing to work with Republicans on the issue.