AFTER FEW CUSTOMERS FOR MUCH OF LAST YEAR BECAUSE OF COVID RESTRICTIONS, BOOST FROM CONSTRUCTION WORK IS HELPING LOCALLY-OWNED BUSINESS RECOVER AS REST OF COMMUNITY ALSO SEES LINE 3 BENEFITS
(HALLOCK, MINN) After watching most of the rooms in his motel remain empty through much of 2020, Mike Totleben’s The Gateway Motel in Hallock is now fully rented by people working on the Line 3 Replacement project. The motel is located 10-15 miles from a construction site and immediately saw its rooms rented once final permits for the project were issued. Totleben’s also hopeful that courts reject requests to stop the Line 3 project, which now has more than 5,000 people working across 14 counties.
“The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out most of our customers last year, making it even harder for a business like mine to make it,” Mike Totleben said. “Line 3 construction is now really pulling us out of a rough patch at a time when our entire community really needed it. After personally making it through last year and also seeing Line 3 spend years passing all the tests from the review process, it would be beyond tragic to see a court decision stop what is now a real economic lifeline that is also replacing something we need and depend on.”
The Minnesota Court of Appeals is expected to make a decision on requests from Line 3 opponents to grant a stay that would stop construction until other lawsuits challenging the project’s approval can be heard. The Line 3 process started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden Administration. Enbridge submitted their application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in 2015 to replace Line 3 as part of the company’s integrity and maintenance driven program. The Line 3 project is now the most reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history and has been reviewed by state and federal agencies and regulators for almost six years.
Final project permits were issued December 1st and crews now have completed more than 1/3rd of the work to replace the new $2.6 billion, 337-mile-long line. Beyond the direct impact from construction worker salaries, Line 3 has also created significant positive economic impacts for Hallock and other local communities. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics study estimated that that Line 3 will support 2,800 retail/hospitality sector jobs and 1,600 local supplier/manufacturer jobs. The study also shows indirect positive economic impacts will include more than $160 million in non-local worker spending on meals, lodging, and incidentals while working in the study area.
Totleben moved to Hallock, MN from Chicago, IL in 2003. He had been employed by some large-scale lodging properties, working as the maintenance engineer. His dream was to one day move to a small town and own a small motel, which came true. After buying the motel in 2003, he immediately made improvements to the property, re-roofing the building and adding a separate building which became a museum of his wide collection of antiques and he upgraded the motel rooms.
“The pipeliners are absolutely wonderful, friendly and polite people who are happy to be here,” Totleben said. “Having these guests allows me to make new friends and I often times stay in touch with them after the job is complete. Sometimes this results in repeat customers.”
Contact: Susan Goudge
Susan@Minnesotansforline3.com | 218-556-3617