Mankato City Council Member and Highway 14 Partnership President Karen Foreman was recently featured in an article in the Mankato Free Press discussing the political gridlock over how to come up with the money to fund our state’s roads. Blue Earth County Commissioner Vance Stuehrenburg, a long-time, active member of the Highway 14 Partnership who currently serves as president of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, is featured as well.
The article focuses on the fact that despite widespread political agreement that Minnesota’s transportation system faces a significant funding deficit, how to make up that deficit has become a source of serious political division. Foreman is quoted in the article as saying: “Sometimes it seems to me that they want to draw a line in the sand and have a tug-of-war, that they’re more interested in the tug-of-war than solving the problem.”
With little agreement on permanent funding solutions, the Minnesota Legislature has turned to bonding in recent years to make any progress at all. While many important projects have benefited from this approach, including Highway 14 expansion, bonding does not address the long-term, system-wide needs that are going unmet. Moreover, the significant recent bonding commitments made by the legislature mean that MnDOT’s bonding capacity is nearly tapped out. Without an additional, ongoing funding stream, the state will be extremely limited in the amount of trunk highway bonds it can issue in the future.
There are only three weeks until the Nov. 6 Election Day. As you interact with candidates in your area, please urge them to commit to finding common ground on permanently funding our transportation system so that we can continue to make progress on projects like Highway 14.