“Governor Walz has proposed a transportation and transit funding package that, frankly, I’ve never seen a governor propose before.”
The Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation Margaret Anderson Kelliher said if the transportation spending plan outlined in his budget proposal comes to pass, it’s likely the expansion to four lanes on the final stretch for Highway 14 between Nicollet and New Ulm will finally be scheduled. “We all want to make sure that we both have roads that can move goods and people, but most of all safely,” she explained.
Kelliher added that it’s a notoriously dangerous stretch of highway and, “Too many people have had a near miss or, unfortunately, the loss of life in their own families.”
The overall focus on roads and bridges, Kelliher said, is also positive and, “I think it will really help our communities across the state and really benefit rural communities.”
The proposal includes a gallon gas tax increase and Kelliher said that plan is sound. “The 20 cent gas tax is phased in,” she explained, “So it’s basically a nickel raise four times.”
And while it has received strong condemnation from the G.O.P., Anderson Kelliher believes the gas tax increase has a chance of approval. “I do think that there are Senators on both sides of the aisle who recognize that we do have a very aging transportation system here,” she said.
A recent independent report commissioned by MnDOT graded Minnesota’s roads somewhere between a C- and a D+.