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      Spotlight on Reform: DNR and MnDOT Bridge the Gap to Streamline Project Permitting

      Posted on November 17, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Today, Governor Dayton announced his first Better Government for a Better Minnesota award winners.  This is part of a series highlighting those winners and their work to make state government work better, more efficiently and more effectively for Minnesotans. 

      When it comes to government reform in Minnesota, an important way the state’s numerous government agencies can provide better services to Minnesota citizens is through collaboration. Take for example, a recent collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

      When MnDOT construction contractors sought permitting for state highway projects that involved the replacement of bridges and culverts located within public waters, the DNR’s involvement was needed to ensure these projects complied with environmental regulations, in addition to the MnDOT project regulations. Working through two different permitting processes and two sets of regulations can often cause unneeded delays. 

      To address this, the agencies formed an interagency collaboration and developed a Best Practices guidance manual that outlined the permitting regulations for both agencies. This has resulted in increased environmental compliance, more consistent and simpler permitting, and reduced delays for MnDOT project timelines.

      Designers, construction managers, and contractors across the state are already using this manual as a vital tool to guide their projects. The interagency relationship is also providing valuable insight for both DNR and MnDOT, leading to cost savings for both agencies and ideas for where further collaboration can occur.

      As part of Better Government for a Better Minnesota, Governor Dayton has prioritized both streamlined permitting and stronger partnership between state agencies. MnDOT and the DNR are already making great progress on both of these counts.