Editorial: Watch the weight of state's transportation budgetThe North Dakota Senate Monday morning said “OK” to a $1.5 billion state transportation budget over two years and this includes $371 million to help fix roads that have been beaten up by oil traffic.
The North Dakota Senate Monday morning said “OK” to a $1.5 billion state transportation budget over two years and this includes $371 million to help fix roads that have been beaten up by oil traffic.
It is undeniable that a number of area roads are in need of repair and though the money may be there, it doesn’t have to be used. Roads need to be fixed for long-term use and not short-term.
And though more than half of the transportation budget is supplied by federal aid, don’t forget that it is still coming out of our pockets. Not every penny has to be spent.
There is no point in rebuilding some of these roads when they can be torn up again over the summer. Sometimes gravel is easier to maintain than spending thousands to blacktop a path which will turn into dust after months of travel by these bulky vehicles.
It’s not just the state concerned about truck traffic; numerous agencies are looking for ways to repair the destruction and keep it from continuing.
This includes proactive measures by the Stark County Road Department, which is purchasing scales to weigh trucks using county roads.
Road Superintendent Al Heiser has the right idea when he says spending $40,000 to purchase scales to enforce weight restrictions will cost-save the county in the long run because the overweight trucks can do more damage in an afternoon than the price tag of the scales.
The Stark County Commission also allowed money to hire another deputy to help enforce weight regulations.
Counties and towns can also work with companies to limit damage such as they’ve done in Tioga — companies agree to stay off certain roads and signs have been erected to remind them of “No truck traffic.”
Dickinson leaders are also working out the details of the city’s enforcement strategy.
The Dickinson Police Department doesn’t have scales and trucks thought to be overweight will have to drive through town to the city’s Baler Building to be weighed.
This may hurt the cause more than help it and let’s count on our city leaders to get the logistics worked out so enforcement doesn’t take the city one step forward and two steps back.
There is also money set aside in the state bill to fund a study looking at road needs in the state over the next two years. Studies have been done and before writing the check, make sure another is necessary.
The state needs to use these funds wisely and keep our roads and our coffers in check.
Press Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride make up the Editorial Board. Email letters to the editor to email@example.com.