Monday, April 6, 2015

Senate passes amended HB 1176

The Senate passed a revised version of HB 1176. The bill primarily changes the Gross Production Tax and the percentage of oil tax revenues staying in the oil producing areas. The Senate today voted to keep the percentages as they were approved by the House at 30% local, 70% state. The bill had origionally been proposed to increase the local share to 60%.
In addition, the bill contains $112 million for non-oil counties. The counties were effective in convincing the Senate to tweak how the money is distributed to non-oil counties and to lessen the requirements on how the funding can be used.  The funding will go to the 43 counties based on the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute's "needs" study. This will balance how the legislature distributes transportation funding as money in SB 2103 is dispersed to those counties based on CMC miles. The criteria for use of the funds has been changed to allow for greater flexibility. The funds would be allowed for roads serving economically important facilities or for projects improving traffic safety, as well as construction on CMC routes.  While construction funds will still be unavailable until 2016, funding for the engineering next years projects will become available in July of 2015.
The bill also expands funding to  "non-oil hub cities". These are now Bismarck, Mandan,  Jamestown, West Fargo, Fargo, and Grand Forks.
It is likely the bill will go into a conference committee.

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