Members of the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership joined Greater Mankato Growth and the Rochester Chamber of Commerce to lobby at the State Capitol on March 8.
After an update from Highway 14 lobbyist Carolyn Jackson and Transportation Alliance Executive Director Margaret Donohoe, Highway 14 Partnership members met with House Transportation Finance Chair Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska). Rep. Torkelson repeated his commitment to introduce a “substantial” transportation bill this session, with the goal of introducing it around March 24. As a Highway 14 legislator, he said he remains committed to including funding for Corridors of Commerce in his bill.
Members then met with House Transportation Finance Vice Chair John Petersburg (R-Waseca). He has authored a number of bills to direct funding for Highway 14 and Corridors of Commerce. When asked how the Highway 14 Partnership can help, he said members should keep up the pressure for a transportation funding bill.
Member also met with Sen. John Jasinski (R-Faribault) and Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato) who both serve on the Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. Jasinski as Vice Chair. Both Senators have authored bills funding Highway 14 and Corridors of Commerce. They remain optimistic that the Senate can draft a bi-partisan bill this year.
Later that afternoon, Carolyn Jackson participated in two question-and-answer sessions with Chamber of Commerce members. Joining Greater Mankato Growth and the Rochester Chamber were members of the Owatonna Chamber and the Waseca Chamber. Rochester KTTC chief meteorologist Matt Benz moderated the questions that ranged from a description of the project to how state funding works. More than 75 people attended the sessions, leaving with the message that it is urgent that we get funds to finish expanding the last 24.5 miles of Highway 14 between New Ulm and Rochester.