Below is an editorial published in the May 13 edition of the New Ulm Journal. It can be found online at nujournal.com/page/content.detail/id/581071.html
Roads still blocked
May 13, 2016 – New Ulm Journal
Last week we bemoaned the lack of respect the Minnesota Legislature is giving to a comprehensive transportation bill, and to Highway 14 funding in particular.?Now, with the end of the session 10 days away, legislators seem no closer to any resolution.
Particularly troubling to Highway 14 supporters is the lack of new funding for the Corridors of Commerce program, which directs highway funding to projects that connect economic centers and are essential for economic development. Highway 14 fits into that category, and over the past couple of years has received enough funding to keep the expansion project moving forward.
But Corridors of Commerce is funded strictly by legislative action. There is no recurring, dedicated funding that flows into it year by year.
Some of that funding has been through state bond revenue, which by law can only be used for actual construction, not for essentials like land acquisition or engineering work that needs to be done before construction can proceed. While Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing full funding for Corridors of Commerce in his transportation proposal, the Senate’s plan contains no new money for Corridors of Commerce, and cuts current funding. The House has proposed a relatively miniscule amount of new funding, nowhere near the $800 million that Highway 14 proponents think is needed over the next four years.
We have been vocal in our support for Highway 14. We hope New Ulm area residents will be as well. Please let your legislators know that we want Corridors of Commerce money so that progress can be maintained on Highway 14.