Western Politicians Show Support for Surge Bill

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BISMARCK (KFYR-TV) Like many citizens of western North Dakota, Jerry Zunich is concerned about the roads.

"All of you from Williston and western North Dakota, that are grandpas and grandmas and parents, take out your phone and look at the picture of your grandkids or your kids," said Jerry Zunich of Williston. "Our kids and our grandkids are traveling those roads so we have some skin in the game."

And he isn't alone.

Senator David Rust, R-Tioga, shared an essay from his granddaughter on what she would like to see change in her town.

"Take it from the nine-year-old fix the gravel roads," said Rust.

Lawmakers from western part of the state made the trip to the capital city to show their support for one of the two bills that would provide fast funding for projects in the oil patch.

"All of our commissioners from the city of Williston have come down her today in support of this," said Howard Klug, mayor of Williston. "And also our citizens have got on a bus at 4 this morning, made the trip over here. That's how important this is to the city of Williston."

Many lawmakers, like the mayor of Watford City, support Senate bill 2103, or the surge bill, proposed by Senator Kelly Armstrong.

"This bill will help save the construction season in the Western part of the state," said Brent Sanford, mayor of Watford City.

The surge funding bill, would provide $845 million.

Taylor County Commission, Farmer: "My neighbors and I can't farm without adequate roads," said Stark County commissioner and ag producer Jay Elkin. "The energy industry cannot produce without adequate roads and those adequate roads are needed now."

Lawmakers say without the funding there won't be a 2015 construction season.

The other, a jump start bill, was proposed by Governor Dalrymple.

It provides a similar amount of money, but the funding for roads would go to the Department of Transportation, while the surge bill would send more money directly to cities and counties.