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Interest surveyed in western SD-western ND flight

RAPID CITY (AP) — The Chamber of Commerce in the western South Dakota hub of Rapid City is gauging interest in a direct flight to the western North Dakota oil patch city of Williston.

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A Chamber survey is asking how many business people drive between the two regions and how many would take advantage of a flight. Many have already expressed interest, Chamber President and CEO Linda Rabe told KOTA-TV.

"We are seeing more and more people that work up in the North Dakota oil field and they live down here," she said. "Whether it's in Spearfish, or Belle Fourche has seen a big influx, and we have as well. And so they were saying, 'Well yeah, we would love to jump on a flight."

With the cracking of the Bakken shale formation, North Dakota has become the second-biggest oil producer in the nation, behind only Texas. Housing is in short supply in western North Dakota as people have flocked to the region in search of high-paying jobs in oil field, pushing some workers into South Dakota.

The chamber's survey will wrap up toward the end of the month.