Infrastructure and Housing
Many of the changes brought by the growth in the Bakken Shale has been positive, with the influx of jobs for thousands or residents. Towns have experienced growing pains, though, as a result of the rapid growth, impacting housing, roads and creating other infrastructure needs.
The growing pains, however, are offering opportunities for businesses and government to step forward, work together, and create the infrastructure to support the growth. Tax revenue from oil and gas operations is fueling much of this development, which in turn, is generating additional jobs.
- Just five months into the new biennium, North Dakota has already pumped $312 million into the oil patch for infrastructure, water and housing development, and Gov. Jack Dalrymple outlined plans to infuse an additional $885.3 million into the state oil and gas producing counties to address impacts.
- The state is investing millions into roads and infrastructure programs for communities impacted by the growth in workers and trucks on the road. Tax revenue from oil and natural gas development is being used to repair areas that have been impacted. Western North Dakota, for example, recently received millions in infrastructure appropriations to rebuild roads and for a water supply project to create a pipeline to take water from the Missouri River near Williston and deliver it to areas throughout western North Dakota.
- The oil is flowing, but industry needs to get crude out of the massive Bakken Shale reserve and to the refineries far away that process it. To take trucks off the road and to handle the large volumes, companies are building rail terminals. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, rail terminals can be developed quickly, giving them an advantage for now over pipelines. The North Dakota Pipeline Authority estimates a doubling in rail-terminal capacity next year alone to more than 700,000 barrels a day.
- State and federal government agencies are keenly aware of the impact oil development is having on the communities. The U.S. Department of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved $1.5 million, and the state Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office $300,000 in planning grants for economic, housing and infrastructure development in western North Dakota. The State Legislature has been generous in providing funds for road work, and the North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) is trying to keep up with the demand. Improving roads and bridges takes time and DOT wants to do it expeditiously and efficiently, however, safety is foremost in their minds.
With collaboration and planning, industry and the state can find solutions to address the phenomenal growth in the Bakken Shale and maintain a high quality of life for North Dakota residents.