All of the logical reasons for this project have been put forth in great detail, including a three-day series by this newspaper in 2010.
MnDOT has shown support for Highway 14 in some uneven ways. It conducted its own safety study on the North Mankato to Nicollet portion a few years ago and found an even more profound safety hazard than previously thought. The part between North Mankato and Nicollet had a fatality ratio three times the state average. To its credit, MnDOT responded by pushing for the funding of that project and getting Gov. Mark Dayton’s support.
But MnDOT also has remained somewhat steadfast in this idea of only listing projects that can be funded given current funding streams. They’re hesitant to put Highway 14 on the priority list for risk of skirting federal guidelines that require pavement repair first. While we can sympathize with the need to follow protocols, we think MnDOT’s approach needs more flexibility and needs to risk offending a federal official or two. Minnesota taxpayers want to know the real needs of transportation and safety and then they can make a pitch for more funding.
Area residents and indeed legislators of both parties have signed on to the idea that Highway 14 has real needs, both for safety and commerce. MnDOT should put it on its list and keep the momentum going for this critical infrastructure that will pay huge dividends to the state of Minnesota and its taxpayers.
Other view on this topic
“Six-point five miles of progress on the entire Highway 14 corridor over the next 20 years is unacceptable”
— New Ulm Mayor Robert Beussman