ST. PAUL, MINN. – Highway 23 runs for 140 miles between Willmar and Interstate-90 in Western Minnesota. That stretch of two-lane highway will become easier to travel and much safer thanks to a multi-million dollar grant from the Corridors of Commerce.
The newly created Corridors of Commerce program authorized $300 million in trunk highway fund bonds for work on the state’s trunk highways. Passing lanes on Highway 23 were picked out of dozens of proposed highway projects to receive up to $19 million in funding. This project is slated to begin in 2016.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) divided the projects into five categories including metro capacity, interregional corridor capacity and statewide freight bottlenecks. Building a passing lane between Willmar and I-90 will increase safety for all drivers and help relieve bottleneck congestion.
“We have all experienced the unsafe conditions on Highway 23. I would like to thank the Corridors for Commerce program for helping create a more safe and robust transportation route for everyone – families, farmers, small businesses and our state’s largest employers,” Senator Lyle Koenen (DFL-Clara City) said.
While this is a step forward in funding transportation projects, it does not address the funding crisis in Minnesota’s near or long-term future. In fact, it would take $21 billion over the course of the next 20 years just to maintain our current transportation system. It’s important for the legislature to remain focused on delivering the benefits of a fully-funded, modernized transportation system to every corner of the state, not just a few projects we can afford at this moment.
The grants will be administered by the Commissioner of Transportation. Project selection was done in consultation with the MnDOT’s central office, the governor, and with local district offices. Funds for the projects will begin to be available July 1, 2014.