(DULUTH, MINN)           Months after construction work has been completed and the replaced line is in full operation, a new research report shows that the Line 3 Replacement project dramatically exceeded its predicted economic impact in Northern Minnesota.  The Duluth-based Area Partnership for Economic Expansion (APEX) commissioned reports before and after construction of what is the largest, privately funded, union construction project in Minnesota history.  The newly released post-construction report shows the project at one time had a workforce of more than 14,000 workers, on average supported 4,157 jobs per year in the region, and had a total impact of over $5 billion.

“The results of this report and the amazing impact of the project shows us why it’s important to support things like replacing Line 3,” said Todd Rothe, a member of the Minnesotans for Line 3 Advisory Committee.  “Getting things done in Minnesota and elsewhere is a very hard thing to do.  Yet the bigger the opportunity, the bigger the challenge. The report today shows the power of what can happen when we work together to get big things done. It’s more than worth it.”

In 2017, APEX commissioned a Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics study that estimated work to replace Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline predicted the project would have created about 8,600 jobs and invested more than $2.0 billion into Northern Minnesota’s economy.  New data shows the project significantly exceeded these projections.

Key Report Findings

  • The L3RP supported, on average, 4,157 jobs per year in the region during the period.
  • Peak construction employment reached more than 14,000 jobs in 2021.
  • Roughly 50% of the project’s construction laborers were residents of the 16-county project area.
  • L3RP contributed more than $1.7 billion in employee wages and benefits.
  • For every job directly supported by Line 3, another86 jobs were added in supporting industries.
  • L3RP generated over $2.2 billion in value-added spending and more than $5 billion in new spending.
  • Once monitoring and restoration work concludes in 2023, Enbridge will have invested more than
    $4 billion over the seven-year project, including more than $2.9 billion spent in the 16-county project area.

For local elected leaders along the route, the new data provided important context to the impact they and their communities experienced when final permits were issued and construction started.  Construction work took about 10 months to complete and came after what had been a period of COVID-driven economic challenges.  Prior to construction, a significant number of people in the counties along the route had filed unemployment insurance applications and many businesses were struggling to find customers.

Construction work started immediately after permits were issued and almost every available union worker had the chance to be part of crews doing a variety of different tasks.  Local businesses immediately saw an influx of customers, and local communities saw new revenue and energy for months.

“As the Mayor of a community that faced serious economic challenges from the pandemic, I can tell you first-hand how much Line 3 meant to Thief River Falls,” said Thief River Falls Mayor Brian Holmer.  “When the work to review and approve Line 3 started, no one could have imagined we would face a pandemic and the economic chaos it brought as we were forced to watch our economy shut down. Yet when the final permits were issued and work started, so much changed in such an immediate and positive way. The report will forever be an important reminder of the full story of Line 3, what happened, and why it did so much good for so many people.”

“It’s been said promises made and promises kept – but this report takes that to a higher level,” said Clearbrook Mayor Dylan Goudge.  “As the mayor of my community, I saw the stress people and businesses had before construction started.  Yet that all changed the day after permits were issued and we are still feeling the positive impact of what is still an amazing project.  When you look at this report and see that as many as 14,000 people were working on Line 3 at one time – it’s beyond amazing.  When you see how much was invested into our economy, it’s hard to comprehend the scale of what happened.”

For more details, please click here to review the full study or click here to read a summary.