North Dakota is planning on funding a myriad of new projects thanks to significant funding from the bipartisan federal infrastructure law. Shepherded by both of the state’s U.S. Senators – Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven – North Dakota will receive more than $1 billion over the next five years. This money is essential for the Peace Garden State, where bridges, roads, wastewater facilities, drinking water facilities, and levees require some much-needed attention.
The federal infrastructure monies will be used for numerous repair and new construction projects, all emphasizing clean energy and sustainable results.
The priorities include rebuilding and repairing roads and bridges for climate resilience and public safety, improving sustainable transportation options, upgrading airports and railroads, and building a statewide network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations every 50 miles of the interstate.
Currently, North Dakota lags far behind the nation in EV ownership and the availability of charging stations. Specific funds are also earmarked for the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to improve water quality and resolve safety issues related to lead and copper water lines.
This funding also allows North Dakota to quickly address one of the most urgent environmental needs in the state. Over $20 million has already been allotted to the Abandoned Oil and Gas Well Plugging and Site Restoration Fund via the Department of Mineral Resources. This fund started in 2020 and plugged nearly 400 wells using federal CARES Act money. But close to 200 oil and gas wells remain, polluting the soil and air with harmful chemicals. It is critical to plug those still-open wells as soon as possible, a complex and previously-prohibitively expensive process that, with proper funding, can be completed in a few days with a team of 15–20 people.
This federal funding is bringing a much-needed boost to many state-funded programs across North Dakota that have already begun the work to modernize the state’s infrastructure and clean up environmental concerns like the well plugging. With the entire state receiving a concerning C grade on its first ever statewide infrastructure assessment, it’s clear that it’s time to make improvements. The new federal law allows these projects to move forward readily and reach their targets much earlier than expected, helping the U.S. achieve its net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050.