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Associated Press, Published November 27 2013

ND Senate leader wants more state aid for US 85

DICKINSON, N.D. — A leading state senator says North Dakota should devote more oil tax money to enhancing U.S. Highway 85, the main north-south corridor in the western oil patch.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, of Dickinson, is an advocate for turning Highway 85 into a four-lane road between Rapid City, S.D., and the Canadian border — a project dubbed the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway.

Wardner says the proposed project has always been about creating a corridor for commerce. He says that with the oil boom, a four-lane highway also is now needed for the safety of local traffic.

The state has earmarked more than $300 million to four-lane the highway between Williston and Watford City. State Transportation Director Grant Levi tells The Dickinson Press that's the priority now for the region.