NDDOT Receives $16,750,000 to Construct Passing Lanes in First-ever INFRA Grant Award

Staff Feature

NORTH DAKOTA  –  North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) has been awarded $16,750,000 to construct passing lanes along approximately 165 miles of US-52 between Carrington and Kenmare. This is the first award North Dakota has received through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program, an allocation inequity Senator Cramer has been using his position on the EPW Committee to try to fix.

“Congratulations to Bill Panos and his team at North Dakota DOT for putting together an excellent application and identifying a stretch of highway in need of improvement, and thank you to Secretary Buttigieg for approving these funds and recognizing the importance of getting them to our state,” said Senator Cramer. “North Dakotans need a strong, reliable transportation infrastructure system to stay connected and get their products to market, but until today we had not been chosen to participate in this major federal infrastructure program. My Environment and Public Works Committee colleagues and I – and, most recently, Senator Martin Heinrich – have been working on a variety of efforts to change that, and now we are seeing some results, with North Dakota receiving over $16 million to bolster 165 miles of our highway infrastructure.”

NDDOT Director Bill Panos applauded today’s announcement.

“We are deeply grateful to Senator Cramer for his hard work and relentless commitment to North Dakota roadways,” said NDDOT Director Bill Panos. “Safety is our highest priority and these passing lanes ensure a safer road for the thousands of motorists who use this highway system every day.”

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), these improvements will connect to an ongoing corridor upgrade through the U.S.-Canadian border crossing of Portal, North Dakota. The proposed passing lanes would be approximately two miles long and spaced approximately every ten miles in each direction, with 5-foot shoulders to allow for the North Dakota Moves State Bicycling Network planned routes. Additionally, 14 turn lanes are being incorporated at intersections in the project area. Learn more here.

Today’s grant follows a bipartisan letter Senator Cramer led with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) this week to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging the department to adopt an initiative to make access to INFRA grant program funding more equitable for states which had not already received such a grant.

North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) has been awarded $16,750,000 to construct passing lanes along approximately 165 miles of US-52 between Carrington and Kenmare. This is the first award North Dakota has received through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program, an allocation inequity Senator Cramer has been using his position on the EPW Committee to try to fix.

“DOT programs are important for rebuilding our country’s economy and supporting hardworking families,” wrote the senators. “Equitable federal assistance is critical to helping local governments and community groups meet the needs of all Americans.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Steve Daines (R-MT), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Read the letter here.

The letter aligns with similar efforts led by Senator Cramer, including an amendment he successfully attached to the bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization bill EPW approved earlier this year, which would require the Secretary of Transportation to prioritize states which have never received an INFRA grant. 

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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