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Heitkamp: Transportation funding a big issue for Congress

Senator Heidi Heitkamp says transportation funding will be a big issue for Congress over the next several months.

Congress has passed a temporary authorization to spend money from the highway trust fund. But Heitkamp says that doesn’t solve the problem.

"My frustration is, we keep kicking the can down the road, because no one wants to face the reality that we continue to see a decline in the highway trust fund," said Heitkamp. "With declining values of gasoline, and with higher mileage vehicles, we have less and less money in the trust fund."

Heitkamp says there are a lot of ideas on the table – some of them calling for short-term solutions.

"One time fixes are exactly that -- one time fixes," said Heitkamp. "We need stability in the trust fund."

The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute says 54 percent of roads in western North Dakota need improvements – such as resurfacing – this year. The Legislature passed a “surge” bill to get state money to those road projects, so construction could begin this summer.

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