For Immediate Release
ST. PAUL, MINN.—Late Sunday night, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bonding package that includes $400 million in trunk highway bonds for the Corridors of Commerce program, with an accompanying directive that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) send those funds to Greater Minnesota projects that scored well in the Spring 2018 Corridors of Commerce scoring process. This funding is expected to fully fund expansion of Highway 14 to four lanes from Owatonna to Dodge Center.
“The residents, farmers, and businesses along Highway 14 are extremely pleased to have another section of this vital corridor funded for four-lane expansion,” said Karen Foreman, president of the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership and a member of the Mankato City Council. “We would like to thank legislative leadership for supporting this important project. We would like to thank all of the Highway 14 legislators who worked so hard on this, especially Rep. Torkelson, Rep. Petersburg, Sen. Senjem and Sen. Jasinski for their special efforts. We would also like to thank MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle and the department’s staff for personally engaging in efforts to see this project through.”
Kevin Raney, vice president of the Highway 14 Partnership and a member of the Owatonna City Council said, “This funding is a game changer for safety and economic development in southern Minnesota. Our community has seen industrial expansion in recent years and our population is growing. These 12.5 miles carry patients to world-class medical care, local school buses, farm equipment and truck traffic. We are tired of harrowing stories of deadly accidents or near misses involving our neighbors. Expanding Highway 14 is overdue and desperately needed.”
The bill will now head to Gov. Dayton, who will have to decide whether to sign the bill in its entirety, veto the entire bill, or line-item veto certain appropriations.
Foreman said, “We urge Gov. Dayton to sign this bonding bill and get Highway 14 expansion moving. Thanks to the 2018 Legislature, the only thing that stands between a four-lane highway between Mankato and Rochester is the Governor’s signature.”
Even if the Governor signs this bill, the job is not done yet. The U.S. Highway 14 Partnership’s mission is to achieve the four-lane expansion of Highway 14 all the way from Rochester to New Ulm.
The U.S. Highway 14 Partnership is an advocacy organization supporting the four-lane expansion of Highway 14. Formed in 1998, the Highway 14 Partnership includes local governments, private businesses and other organizations across Southern Minnesota. Visit the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership online at ushighway.com and follow us on Twitter @Hwy14Pshp.