Local agencies react to president's infrastructure initiative

BISMARCK, N.D. - During last night's State of the Union address, President Trump talked about $1.5 trillion infrastructure initiative. It aims to give states more spending power with federal dollars.

In North Dakota, state and local agencies say they hope the funding comes and is split 80-20.

Nine-million-dollar changes to 43rd Avenue in Bismarck is just one of the many top priority projects the city aims to do if the initiative is passed.

"The devils in the details of how it's actually going to be funded going forward, so everybody will be watching that to see how difficult it will be to accept federal funding going forward and what that match will be," said Steve Saunders, Metropolitan Planning Organization.

As for the state, the Department of Transportation says one of its most important projects in the near future is a more than $100 million expansion to Highway 85 between Watford City and I-94.

"I know there's a lot of needs across the state, not just for highways but also for municipalities. There's a lot of infrastructure needs," said Steve Salwei, Department of Transportation.

The president also proposed a non-governmental entity to manage air traffic control, with aims that it will reduce passenger taxes.

"I think the biggest fear is from the general aviation community about this new organization charging fees for using services," said Greg Haug, Bismarck Airport Manager.

Haug says he doesn't see the air traffic control proposal passing, but does hope to get a piece of the trillion dollar pie.

The White House says it wants to give more power back to the state when dealing with federal dollars because it believes localities are better equipped to understand the right level, and type, of infrastructure investments needed for their communities.