Funding allows South Dakota counties and cities to prioritize local transportation needs

The South Dakota Transportation Commission approved over $36 million in funding allocations to counties and class 1 cities throughout South Dakota at their February 25, 2021, meeting.

Interim Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt says this total includes $6 million directly resulting from Congress providing additional federal funds to the state under the December 2020 CRRSA supplement appropriations bill. He says over $27.5 million will be provided in state funds to the counties and cities, the remaining balance of funds will be used for reimbursement on federal aid projects as determined by the local government.

“Through the efforts of the Transportation Commission, much-needed funds will again be provided to our county and city partners to invest for local priorities,” Jundt says. “Although there is not a law requiring allocation of these funds to local governmental entities, the Commission has consistently recognized the interconnection of transportation systems, regardless of ownership, and the need for local control of investments.”

All 66 counties, and cities with a population over 5,000, will receive state highway funding to help maintain, preserve, repair, and reconstruct roads and bridges.

In 2015, the South Dakota Legislature passed Senate Bill 1 which increased fuel and vehicle excise tax. Through this effort, the Transportation Commission has been able to provide the counties and cities annual allocation of transportation funding as state funds in lieu of federal funds to local governments each year since passage.

“Through the efforts of the Transportation Commission, SDDOT, and the local governments across South Dakota, the transportation system in the state is improving,” says Bob Wilcox, Executive Director for the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners. “We applaud the Commission and DOT’s efforts, their open lines of communication, and the foresight that this investment will have for the next generation of South Dakotans.”

The $36 million is in addition to the $15 million of Bridge Improvement Grants and the $21.4 million for the Local Federal Bridge Program that the Transportation Commission acted on at their meeting held on February 25, 2021.

Not including the allocation approved at the February 25, 2021 meeting, the Transportation Commission provided over $86 million in transportation funding to local governments last year in the form of grants, state funding, and federal aid.