Governor Tim Walz stood alongside Nicollet County first responders, bipartisan legislators, community leaders, and his neighbors from Mankato to announce a funding plan to complete the final expansion of Highway 14—the 12 miles of two-lane traffic between Nicollet and New Ulm.
The legislation would update state law to allow the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to apply for a federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan, administered through the Rural Project Initiative and Build America Bureau of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The loan application will ask the federal government for an estimated $36 million for Highway 14.
Governor Walz’s advocacy in this project spans back to his time in Congress and the death of his neighbor in Mankato.
“As a former member of Congress from Southern Minnesota, as someone who has driven countless miles on this road, as someone who has lost a dear friend and neighbor on this road, and now as this state’s governor, this issue is personal to me, and it’s personal to everyone in this area of the state,” said Governor Walz. “We are pursuing every possible option to get this road built out to four lanes and keep Minnesotans safe.”
“In this area of our state, everyone knows someone who has lost a loved one or been impacted by a tragedy on Highway 14. This is one of the most dangerous highways in Minnesota,” said MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “The Governor has long been an advocate of this project, and MnDOT is committed to getting it done.”
The TIFIA loan is just one strategy MnDOT will employ to complete the last stretch of Highway 14 that has yet to secure a funding source. Earlier this week, MnDOT submitted an application for a federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant, which provides infrastructure grants to road projects across the country.
The legislation is scheduled to be introduced by Senator Nick Frentz and Representative Jeff Brand on Monday, March 2.