Airport to impose rules for taxis, shuttles

Taxis and shuttles may soon have rules to follow and fees to pay to operate at Minot International Airport.

The Minot City Council’s Airport Committee is recommending the council approve new airport rules for operating ground transportation services, which include a $25 a month fee to operators that charge for services.

Andrew Solsvig, airport director, said congestion at the airport has led to conflicts among ground transportation operators, who are having to jockey for space to stop for customers. The congestion also has been affecting other people using the temporary parking in front of the terminal. Solsvig said the new rules provide a designated area for taxis and shuttles that will free up a space in front of the terminal for other users.

The airport, which used to have only two taxis providing service, now is served by four taxi companies and a fifth has interest, Solsvig said. Two shuttles operate to the Bakken.

Jill Schramm

Insurer to refund over-payments

BISMARCK-Policyholders of Austin Mutual Insurance Co. will share in $97,266 in refunds under an agreement between the company and the North Dakota Insurance Department.

The agreement resolves an issue of whether the company used rates in North Dakota that were not approved by the department.

The agreement requires Austin Mutual to return a portion of the premiums it charged North Dakota policyholders for certain types of crop/hail insurance for 2010 and 2011. The agreement also calls for Austin Mutual to make a $10,000 settlement payment to the department.

Anyone with questions about these policies or the agreement can call the Insurance Department at 1-800-247-0560.

BNSF not backing down in Devils Lake train dispute

DEVILS LAKE (AP) – BNSF Railway still plans to allow faster train speeds on a section of track in Devils Lake, after hearing city officials’ concerns about safety.

City officials say they might look to state and federal lawmakers for help.

BNSF is planning to double the current 30 mph limit on a nearly 1 -mile-long section of upgraded track in the northeastern North Dakota city of about 7,300 people, beginning Friday.

“At 60 mph a freight train, any train, could be on you pretty quick,” Mayor Dick Johnson said. “It just takes away any safety margin that there might be, and it’s just not acceptable to us.”

City and railroad officials met on Monday but didn’t resolve the matter. Railroad spokeswoman Amy McBeth said the section of track is rated for the higher speed and that “it does not mean that all trains will be operating at that maximum allowed speed.”