Newly-elected and re-elected members of the North Dakota House of Representatives take the oath of office on the opening day of the legislature's organizational session.
Funds Support Four-Lane Work on Hwy 85
North Dakota has harnessed the power of bonding for decades. State agencies currently hold a modest balance of $2.25 billion in bonds issued mostly to support housing and water projects. However, the state has not used bonding extensively for transportation projects as many other states do.
With interest rates at historic lows and an assured source of repayment in Legacy Fund earnings, “Now is the time to invest in our future with a backbone of smart, efficient, modern infrastructure,” Burgum said.
“Waiting to build major infrastructure projects only until we can pay cash defers the economic benefits, exposes us to future construction inflation, raises local cost share and limits our growth,” he said. “Bonding works. Our school districts and cities do it regularly. It’s simple, and most importantly, in today’s interest rate environment, it is very smart and economical.”
Under the executive budget proposal, the state will sell bonds in the amount of $1.25 billion:
- $700 million will be used for infrastructure revolving loan funds to be loaned out to political subdivisions for water, road, bridge and other projects under long-term, low-interest loans that will help keep property taxes low.
- $323 million will go toward transportation, bridge and community project grants that can be undertaken now to see immediate improvements in communities and roadways.
- $45 million go into a cost-sharing match grant program to incentivize the expansion and opening of local career academies.
- $182 million will be used to address maintenance and repair issues with state facilities that have gone unaddressed for too long.
A portion of Legacy Fund earnings would be used to create a Legacy Bond Repayment Fund to make the debt payments on the $1.25 billion in bonds.
The repayment fund is one of five categories proposed for all future uses of the Legacy Fund earnings in the executive budget, along with using the funds to drive economic diversification, community development and strategic initiatives; supporting research and innovation; transforming how government provides services; and investing in transformational legacy projects that have a high return and lasting impact for citizens.
The budget also proposes a number of investments using Legacy Fund earnings from the current 2019-21 biennium, including $27 million to support growth in the unmanned aerial systems industry, $8 million for the Housing Incentive Fund to increase affordable housing across the state, $30 million for the Innovation Technology Loan Fund created by the 2019 Legislature, $25 million for statewide cybersecurity, $10 million for state park infrastructure upgrades, $10 million for a State Park Challenge Grant Program to drive private investments, and $5 million for an environmental quality restoration fund.
“With a fiscally conservative budget that prioritizes general fund needs without the ongoing reliance on Legacy earnings, we set our state on a historic path of harnessing the predictable free cash flow of Legacy earnings to multiply its impact through economic diversification, community building, infrastructure, research and innovation, government transformation, and lasting true Legacy projects,” Burgum said.
Matching Grant Program for Career Academies
Earnings in 2021-23 Could Approach $1 Billion
- Use 20 percent of Legacy earnings to drive economic diversification, community development and strategic initiatives across the state. Envision support for the expansion and development of new businesses and industries including value-added energy and agriculture, unmanned aerial systems, autonomous technologies, advanced manufacturing and biosciences.
- 10 percent of earnings would go for research and innovation, both in higher education systems and throughout the private sector. Funds should support ideas that will solve major problems the world currently faces such as carbon capture and utilization and commercialization of products.
- 10 percent of earnings would transform how government provides services, accelerating innovation and transformation that promotes efficiency and replaces antiquated brick-and-mortar, in-person approaches and paper-based business processes with state-of-the-art systems.
- Use 40 percent of earnings to create the Legacy Bond Repayment Fund. The fund will be used to make the debt payment on the $1.25 billion in bonds proposed in the budget.
- Invest 20 percent of earnings into transformational legacy projects, driving big-picture ideas with a high return on investment for North Dakota citizens.
Public-Private Effort Aims to Overcome ESG Issues
Plant's Efficient Design Means Less Pollution
Begins Planning Cycle for 2022-2025
Proposed Work on Hwy 23 near New Town
- Oneok seeks to expand capacity of natural gas liquids pipeline -- Bismarck Tribune
- Enbridge starts construction on Line 3 oil pipeline in Minnesota -- Associated Press
- Workers trek to northwest Minnesota following Enbridge approval -- Fargo Forum
- BLM opens comment period for March oil and gas lease sale -- Williston Herald
- Ron Ness: Oil and natural gas industry continues to do great things in ND -- GF Herald
- Political deja vu: Jeff Delzer is back as ND House Appropriations chairman -- KXMB-TV
- North Dakota Legislature votes to require masks at state Capitol -- Associated Press
- State Superintendent reacts to Burgum's proposed education budget -- KFYR-TV
- Confidence in Midwest economic future plummets in regional survey -- Associated Press
- Area legislators expecting a challenging session coming in January -- Crosby Journal
- ND lawmaker Thomas Beadle transitioning to state treasurer position -- Bismarck Tribune
- Minot Public Schools participate in rapid testing pilot for COVID-19 -- Minot Daily News
- 1st 'Operation Prairie Dog' infrastructure grants set to go to ND cities -- Bismarck Tribune
- School board election for re-organized district scheduled for Dec. 16 -- Williston Herald
- Poll shows ND parents split on teaching models during pandemic -- Bismarck Tribune
- Two-thirds of North Dakotans would take COVID vaccine, poll says -- Bismarck Tribune
- If approved, the state could get COVID 20,000 vaccines by December -- KXMB-TV
- Watford City thrift store assists those struggling during oil slowdown -- KFYR-TV
- Underserved areas around Fairview, Sidney to get better broadband -- Williston Herald
- Minot Area Chamber of Commerce, MADC to vote on merger -- Minot Daily News
- Virus-stricken winter season unlikely to derail oil market rebalancing -- Reuters
- U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell in 2019 while China's increased -- IER
- Oil majors wipe $80 billion off books as epidemic, energy transition bite -- Reuters
- OPEC+ economic inequalities complicate knife edge oil diplomacy -- S&P Global
- Positive crude oil outlook draws in increasingly bullish fund managers -- Reuters
- Why transitioning away from oil won't "go gentle into that good night" -- RealClear Energy
- Trump administration encourages offshore drilling in final energy push -- Reuters
- Natural gas-fired generation has increased in most U.S. regions since 2015 -- EIA
- Chevron slashes spending plans as COVID hammers oil demand -- Wall Street Journal
- Biden's electric vehicle plans may collide with environmental policies -- InsideSources
- Op-ed: Get ready for nationwide blackouts under Biden Administration -- Eurasia Review
Factoid of the Week
Virtual Meeting via Zoom
Vote at The Williston ARC
December 4, 2020
WTI Crude: $46.26
Brent Crude: $49.25
Natural Gas: $2.58
North Dakota Active Oil Rigs: 14 (Up 2) 12/4/2019 -- 56 rigs