The Keystone XL pipeline is expected to deliver jobs and tax revenue as it crosses from Canada to the northern border of Kansas, cutting through parts of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska on the way.
And even though most jobs will be temporary, they’re still worthwhile, supporters say.
Those four states are expected to gain 12,000 jobs — roughly 30 percent of the 42,100 jobs to come during the projected two-year construction window. That could bring them a $666.3 million economic boost, according to the State Department’s environmental impact report.
The remaining 30,100 workers would come from the rest of the United States, which could see a $2.7 billion shot to gross domestic product, the report says.
State budgets would benefit. Eight construction camps planned in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska are projected to generate about $4 million in property tax revenue. Once the pipeline becomes operational, property tax revenue on the facilities is estimated to bring in $55.6 million in the first year, spread across 27 counties.
Short-term revenues from sources such as sales and use taxes would total roughly $66 million combined in the states that levy such a tax.
Of the four states, Nebraska seems to be the biggest winner; it’s expected to get 4,400 jobs that would bring in $149.4 million in earnings and $11.8 million in property taxes during the first full year of Keystone operations.
In South Dakota, the combination of a sales or use tax on materials, equipment and services — plus the contractors’ excise tax for work done in the state — would generate an estimated $46.5 million. Similar taxes would bring in $16.5 million in Nebraska, the report says.
Kansas would generate an estimated $2.7 million in the sales or use tax on materials and county governments would see a combined $360,000.
In addition, three electrical transmission and distribution lines will be connected to the project, which are expected to create an additional 5,200 jobs and $244 million in earnings.
Supporters say Keystone construction jobs will pay well and include positions such as specially trained welders who earn $140,000 a year.
Though significant, the projected employment gains will be short-lived. The State Department estimates that once construction is done, operations would require only 50 workers — 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors.
But Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., swiped at Democratic opponents who he says have minimized the importance of the jobs, even if they are temporary. “Tell that to a construction worker who is looking for a job,” he said.