$300 Million Program Will Boost Highway Capacity, Improve Freight Movement Statewide
ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced today that ten highway construction projects will receive funding through the state’s new $300 million Corridors of Commerce program. The projects will strengthen Minnesota’s transportation system by adding capacity and improving the movement of freight across the state.
“These projects will reduce travel times and improve safety for Minnesota citizens, and help our businesses transport their products more efficiently,” said Governor Dayton. “The number of projects from all over our state, which sought financing from this program, underscores the acute need for more transportation funding.”
Transportation improvements include the addition of lanes, bypasses and shoulders to essential travel corridors in the state, including Interstate 94 between Rogers and St. Michael, Highway 14 in southern Minnesota, and Highway 34 between Detroit Lakes and Nevis. The bonding authority is effective July 1, 2014, with five projects scheduled to start in 2014, three in 2015 and two in 2016.
The selected projects were among more than 400 proposals representing more than 100 unique projects that MnDOT received earlier this fall from public sector partners, stakeholders and interested citizens across the state. Agency staff evaluated eligible projects on selection criteria that included project readiness and deliverability, community support, projected return on investment, and safety impacts.
“These projects represent a great first step for the Corridors of Commerce program,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “These critical improvements demonstrate our commitment to providing a commerce friendly network of freight corridors to ship goods and provide safety and mobility to all users.”
Enacted during the 2013 legislative session, the Corridors of Commerce program authorizes trunk highway bonding to be used for projects that are not already in the state’s four-year State Transportation Improvement Program. The legislation established two major goals for the program: to increase highway capacity on segments where bottlenecks occur and to improve the movement of freight and reduce barriers to commerce.
The selected projects are:
“There were many good project proposals submitted, indicative of the need and desire to improve Minnesota’s transportation network,” Zelle said. “Unfortunately, we have more projects than money to go around. I’ve been travelling around the state this fall to draw attention to the need for a long-term stable funding source for transportation. My hope is that state and local governments, stakeholders and user groups will join together to address this problem today, to keep our state competitive tomorrow.”
More information about the Corridors of Commerce program can be found at www.mndot.gov/corridorsofcommerce/.
A Map of the Corridors of Commerce projects can be downloaded here: corridors_of_commerce_map.pdf
Audio of the Governor Dayton and Commissioner Zelle’s remarks can be downloaded here: http://mn.gov/gov-stat/audio/2013_11_14_Corridors_of_Commerce.MP3
Video of the news conference will be available at this site by 3:30 p.m.: ftp://ftp2.dot.state.mn.us/pub/outbound/ocpr/corridors/