After President Trump issued his budget proposal on Thursday, staff members for Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) alerted us to the cuts to TIGER grant funding and asked for our reaction. Our full statement is below:
The U.S. Highway 14 Partnership notes that in his preliminary budget plans, President Trump has proposed defunding the TIGER Grant transportation funding program. U.S. Highway 14 runs east-west through Southern Minnesota, connecting the regional economies of New Ulm, Mankato/North Mankato, Owatonna and Rochester. While much of this 100-mile stretch has been expanded to a four-lane divided highway, two 12-mile stretches are still a dangerous two-lane highway.
Minnesota has applied for a TIGER grant to help finish the Highway 14 Project. This type of funding is another source to help the economic health of the rural regional economies served by Highway 14.
“Cutting off TIGER grants limits the economic development potential for all the communities along Highway 14 and other rural areas throughout the country,” said U.S. Highway 14 Partnership President Karen Foreman, who also serves on the Mankato City Council. “Highway expansion projects depend on special funding sources because regular highway funding only covers repair and maintenance. As Highway 14 has shown, individual highway infrastructure projects provide incentives for businesses to come to rural communities and create jobs. Walmart chose to build its regional distribution center in my city, Mankato, because Highway 14 had been expanded to four lanes. Other communities deserve the same opportunities for business and job growth.”
Kevin Raney, vice president of the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership and a member of the Owatonna City Council, agreed. “It is disappointing that President Trump wants to get rid of a program that helps bring economic growth to rural communities. Minnesota applied for a TIGER grant for Highway 14, but there was insufficient funding. We need help from our federal partners for the type of strategic projects funded by TIGER grants.”