This past fall, the North Dakota Legislative Assembly was called into special session and a part of their task was to determine how the state should utilize the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that have been received. Approximately $1 billion in Federal Aid was appropriated and the final breakdown of these funds for use in North Dakota included: 56% for Infrastructure and Capital Projects, 37% for Workforce and Economic Development, and 7% for Health Care, Emergency Response, & Citizen Service Efficiency.
Prior to the start of the special legislative session, the Airport Association of North Dakota and the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) was able to proactively meet with state legislators and participate in the ARPA committee hearings to make the case that a portion of the funds should be considered for airport infrastructure funding. These efforts were met with success, as the final bill appropriated $5 million of the ARPA funds to the NDAC for the purpose of providing additional airport infrastructure grants in the coming years. These funds will be put to good use to help reduce the local financial burden on project costs, match federal grant dollars, and overall help multiple North Dakota communities move forward with high-priority airport projects.
At the national level, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was also signed into law, which will provide an additional $3 billion per year, over the next five years, for eligible Airport Infrastructure Projects throughout the country. This will create new opportunities for additional federal funds to be leveraged to North Dakota projects. The NDAC is looking forward to working with the FAA and our 89 public-use airports to ensure that proactive and justified plans are in place to appropriately compete for these funds.This spring, our agency will also be providing the industry with a finalized Pavement Condition Index Study. This is a project that we conduct every three years, where the pavement sections at the public-use airports are analyzed, inventoried, and provided with a recommended maintenance or replacement plan. This information helps us to prioritize and plan the most cost-effective and appropriate timing of airport pavement maintenance and rehabilitation projects throughout the state. The newly announced federal and state funding programs will make this information even more valuable for our planning efforts, as our goal is to be prudent and make informed decisions when allocating grant funds.
As we continue our work to improve and ensure the safety of North Dakota’s airport infrastructure and airspace, feel free to contact the NDAC with any concerns, recommendations, or information that you may have to help provide us with a full understanding of the needs of the system. Smart investment decisions within our airports and communities will help to encourage growth opportunities and economic diversification while also helping North Dakota to strengthen its role within the energy and agricultural industries.
Wishing you blue skies and tailwinds,
Kyle Wanner, Director
North Dakota Aeronautics Commission
701-328-9650 | firstname.lastname@example.org