The Free Press, Mankato, MN


September 24, 2013

Highway 14 good choice for new program

Why it matters: Highway 14 expansion will spur significant economic development in southern Minnesota.

When the Legislature approved the new Corridors of Commerce highway funding program in 2013, it was designed to address the longstanding road funding problem the state faces and provide the infrastructure for crucial economic development, especially in outstate Minnesota.

As the Minnesota Department of Transportation begins making decisions on allocating the program’s $300 million in trunk highway bonds, Highway 14 should receive strong consideration.

The Highway 14 Partnership, a coalition of governments, business and individual citizens from Rochester to Sleepy Eye, has recently sent a letter to MnDOT urging the Highway 14 projects that are not yet four lanes be granted funds from the commerce fund.

The coalition is impressive. Cities like Rochester, Mankato and New Ulm have long been associated with the effort. But many private sector employers know the value of this public infrastructure. The coalition’s website lists members that include major employers such as Mathiowetz Construction, Mayo Clinic Health System, HyVee, McNelius Steel and Xcel Energy.

These stakeholders have all come to realize the significant economic development benefits that will come with a four-lane Highway 14 from Rochester to New Ulm. All know a four-lane Highway 14 along its own “corridor of commerce” will move goods efficiently, create business expansions and jobs.

The partnership makes a case for expanding Highway 14 from Nicollet to New Ulm to remove a bottleneck of commercial traffic that is 1.5 times the average rural traffic for two-lane highways. New Ulm is the largest city in Minnesota not served by any four-lane highway, and the city has become uncompetitive for that reason in attracting new economic development.

An interchange at State Highway 111 and Highway 14 at Nicollet would help correct one of the most dangerous intersections on the roadway, one that MnDOT’s own safety audit cited for significantly higher crash rates. And as Highway 14 has already been expanded from North Mankato to Nicollet, the traffic will be traveling faster and create more backups for Highway 111 without an interchange. Large agricultural vehicles often use this roadway and safety would likely be compromised without an interchange.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Spear smile.jpg Spear column: Hoffner case tested first and right rules

    The biggest news stories carry the biggest risk

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SCC leads the way on work ed The importance of higher education has never been more pronounced than with the changes occurring in our economy, especially in manufacturing. Bloomberg News noted that manufacturing accounts for 80 percent of our exports and for every one high-tech

    April 20, 2014

  • Our View: Y helps kids with skatepark Thumbs up to the YMCA and supporters working quickly to open an interim roller sport park. When fire destroyed Chesley Roller Sports Park in February, the Y made the commitment to rebuild it this summer and fall. But the Y also moved to give skateboa

    April 19, 2014

  • Our View: Make course evaluations public There's been a considerable and legitimate debate over the years about whether students at a public university should have access to teacher and course evaluations. Whenever there is a legitimate debate, it's hard to be in favor of less information a

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View: Drawing the line after Ukraine Why it matters: Tensions are ramping up once more as Russia tries to dictate to Ukraine.

    April 17, 2014

  • Our View: Costs key in health care access While more uninsured got coverage, costs must be controlled to sustain programs

    April 16, 2014

  • Our View: Saving lives trumps booking drug users Changes to the drug laws would save lives of those who overdose

    April 15, 2014

  • Pay attention! Distraction a problem A few years ago safety experts focused heavily on the dangers of people talking on cellphones while driving. Some states passed laws prohibiting the use of hand-held phones in cars as a result. Today much attention is on motorists typing on tiny hand

    April 14, 2014

  • DEBATE MEDICAL MARIJUANA When Minnesota lawmakers return from their spring break, one of the issues they may face is medical marijuana. This has been kicked around too many times. We feel it deserves to be pushed from committee and debated on the floor. The issue has been tr

    April 13, 2014

  • Our View: Cities saved on garbage collection Mankato and North Mankato saved their taxpayers money by bidding on garbage service

    April 12, 2014