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Lawmakers suggest "surge funding" bill for 2015

Supporters call it “surge funding.”

A group of western North Dakota Republican legislators is proposing that an $800 million infrastructure bill be passed on a “fast track” in the first few weeks of the 2015 Legislature. That $800 million would go to roads, bridges, sewer and water, curb and gutter projects.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) says $475 million would go to the oil producing counties and cities. Another $140 million would go to Williston, Dickinson and Minot; $35 million would go to schools in the oil patch; and $150 million would go to cities and counties outside the oil patch.

Wardner says legislators realize that housing is the top issue in the oil patch.

"Folks -- they can't allow them to start with housing developments until the city can provide the services," said Wardner at a Bismarck news conference. "You have to have the sewer, the water, and you have to have water pressure for fire suppression. All of those things have to be in place before a developer can go there and develop a piece of property."

Wardner says the plan is to get the bill passed and signed into law by late January, 2015. He says that way, cities and counties will not miss the 2015 construction season.

"Our goal is to give these communities the tools they need to provide infrastructure for the people of North Dakota to call home," said Wardner.

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