The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker


September 18, 2013

Put HWY 14 plan on MnDOT 20-year list

Why it matters: Completion of Highway 14 will bring huge benefits in safety and commerce to residents across a wide region of Minnesota

We can’t remember a public push for a highway project that was greater than the blitz going on right now to get MnDOT to include Highway 14 as a priority for funding in the next 20 years.

It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask. While a large coalition of businesses, government and average citizens are backing completion of the roadway to secure safe driving for motorists and bolster crucial and burgeoning commercial development along the corridor, the main request right now isn’t even funding: It’s simply to put the project on MnDOT’s so called “20-year plan” for priorities in funding.

While the 20-year plan sounds like a bureaucratic step that doesn’t mean anything, it appears to be the important document in terms of priorities for the billions of dollars in road funding available over the next few years. It apparently can be amended, but it’s unclear just how that would work.

The 20-year plan has evolved a bit in that it now only lists specific projects for the first seven years of the plan. Projects can be added when more funding becomes available. But the Highway 14 Coalition also notes that being left off the 20-year plan could make getting federal funds for the project more difficult. MnDOT officials disagree with that assessment.

Congressman Tim Walz and civic leaders were in New Ulm Monday to make the case. Walz called for Dayton and Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle to put Highway 14 on the list. New Ulm Mayor Robert Beussman pointed out that MnDOT has only committed to 6.5 miles of Highway 14 improvement with the more than 30 miles that need expanding. It’s a figure he and others find unacceptable. Rightly so.

The recently approved project from North Mankato to Nicollet is on the list. But the Highway 14 partnership, a coalition of governments and businesses, has been pushing to get the entire project as priority. That would include another 19-mile stretch between Nicollet and New Ulm and another similar area between Owatonna and Dodge Center.

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