(BEMIDJI, MINN)           Last year hospitality businesses in many Northern Minnesota communities struggled to stay open and workers had to look hard to find a job.  It’s amazing how much things can change in a year.  A local business owner says the hospitality economy has recovered close to what was normal and there is now a need for more workers as a direct result of Line 3 construction work.  The Line 3 Replacement Project is now close to two-thirds complete as thousands of workers continue to spend time and money in communities across the 14 route counties.

“It’s a major impact in the area,” said Rich Siegert, Owner & President of the Edgewater group. “You can’t believe what it does for a hotel business and for restaurants, grocery stores. They all feel the impact of what’s going on in the area.  The Visitors and Convention Bureau in Bemidji keeps track of numbers of occupancies and sales in the region. We’re almost back to normal, to where we should be. In our region here (Line 3), has helped a tremendous amount as far as sales.”

The first phase of construction work started last December and the second phase began in June and is now employing more than 4,000 workers.  Enbridge is investing more than $2 billion of private-sector dollars to replace the 337 mile section of the pipeline.  The process started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden Administration and the Line 3 project is now the most reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history.

Siegert said the project’s impact on the area’s workforce has also been significant.  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 and create more than $160 million in non-local worker spending on meals, lodging, and incidentals while working in the study area. 

Siegert said many workers in businesses across the area are seeing more customers, more hours, and more wages after what had been a challenging previous year.  Businesses now are facing a new challenge – finding more workers to fill more spots, as places continue to see strong activity.

“Our employees like being busy and they like doing stuff,” Siegert said. “We’re working on a new problem right now; we want more employees!  Some of our team is actually getting a bit burned out because of too many hours. It’s the way it is and we just have to deal with it.  We’re struggling with that throughout the area to find more employees. If you have any employees out there, let us know, we’d be glad to hire them!”

Beyond the immediate impact on hospitality businesses, Line 3 work is also generating a long-term positive, fiscal impact for the broader region.  In addition to creating additional tax revenue from the updated pipeline, companies and workers are creating important additional sales tax revenues.

“I look at the property taxes and the sales taxes this has collected at both the local and state level,” Siegert added. “People really underestimate how big of an impact this is in our region, and the property tax impact. Our town in Beltrami County is going to feel it even though the pipeline is leaving Beltrami, going through Hubbard County. You’re talking millions of dollars from this thing every year.”

Contact: Susan Goudge | 218-556-3617