North Dakota roads, licensing to get attention

| Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Work started at the North Dakota statehouse Tuesday, Jan. 4. During the next three months legislators are expected to talk a lot about viable options to generate road revenue and to address the growing pains associated with a larger population.

More money could soon be available for highway work around the state. Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s wants to spend nearly $230 million to repair and improve state roads during the next two years.

A House bill would go a long way in reaching the governor’s goal. HB1043 would mandate that revenue from the motor vehicle excise tax, which would otherwise go to the state’s general fund, be deposited into the Highway Tax Distribution Fund.

A fiscal note on the bill reports that about $185 million in revenue would be affected during the next two years. The North Dakota Department of Transportation would get about $113 million, counties would receive nearly $41 million, while cities would get another $23 million. Public transportation would receive nearly $3 million.

Another bill would extend license renewals from four years to six years for motorists at least 21 years old. Commercial drivers would still need to renew their license every four years.

Supporters say the changes in HB1109 are being pursued to address the increased workload for renewals. The state’s population reportedly has grown by more than 30,000 people in the past decade.

Critics are concerned that elderly drivers would go another two years before renewing their licenses. According to statistics from the NDDOT, drivers 65 and older account for 17 percent of the state’s drivers and they were involved in 13 percent of 2009 crashes.

The bills are awaiting assignment to committee in their respective chambers.

To view other legislative activities of interest for North Dakota, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.