In the past few weeks a flurry of bills have been introduced that seek funding for U.S. Highway 14 and Corridors of Commerce.
The bill put forward by the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership is HF677/SF904. This bill provides for $300 million in trunk highway bonds for Corridors of Commerce, and up to $50 million a year in the years when the state runs a budget surplus. This will provide cash to keep land acquisition, engineering and environmental work moving forward on Corridors of Commerce projects. The chief author for the House file is Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) and the co-authors are Rep. Clark Johnson (DFL-North Mankato), Rep. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville), Rep. Duane Sauke (DFL-Rochester), Rep. Brian Daniels (R-Faribault), Rep. Eric Lucero (R-Dayton) and Rep. David Baker (R-Willmar). The chief author for the Senate file is Sen. John Jasinski (R-Faribault) and the co-authors are Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-Mankato) and Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls).
Two other Corridors of Commerce bills have also been introduced: HF460/SF566 dedicates the 9.2% tax on motor vehicle rentals to Corridors of Commerce, and HF231/SF313 calls for $200 million a year for two years to fund Corridors of Commerce. We are very encouraged to see so much enthusiasm for this program.
There are also three bills detailing the U.S. Highway 14 expansion projects. For the New Ulm to Nicollet section, HF588/SF439 and HF765/SF392 have been offered. For the Owatonna to Dodge Center section, HF265/SF142 has been offered. The Highway 14 legislators have been very supportive of finding ways to fund these two sections, and we are grateful for their work.
On Feb. 14, the Senate Transportation Committee will hear Sen. Senjem’s bonding bill, SF210, which is very similar to the bonding bill that failed to pass last spring. SF210 provides $199.5 million for Corridors of Commerce and names the two remaining sections of Highway 14 as priority projects for that funding. Highway 14 Partnership President Karen Foreman and Vice President Kevin Raney will testify at in favor of this funding at the hearing.
Please take the time to thank your Highway 14 representatives and senators for their work so far. You can find their contact information here. Our legislators all seem fired up to find ways to FIX IT NOW!