Journey to Growth supports the Highway 14 Partnership’s request of $350 million for the Corridors of Commerce program, including $300 million in one-time highway bonding and ongoing funding of $50 million a year from the state’s general fund in years that the state runs a budget surplus. Corridors of Commerce is a program that funds highway expansion projects that connect regional economies and has provided funding for Highway 14 in the past.
In a time of budget surplus, low unemployment, and sustained economic growth, we the undersigned implore the State of Minnesota to invest some of its current good fortune in the future economic growth of Southern Minnesota. Specifically, we call upon the Legislature and the Governor to sign a transportation-funding bill that provides a path to complete Highway 14. Let’s use our current prosperity to ensure continued growth and investment.
Nearly 400,000 people live along Highway 14 between Rochester and New Ulm. This is the most populous 100-mile stretch in Greater Minnesota not served by a continuous four-lane highway. The regional centers of New Ulm, greater Mankato, Owatonna and Rochester add economic diversity to our State and are poised for significant growth. Unfortunately, however, the lack of a four-lane highway connecting our communities leaves Southern Minnesota without the basic infrastructure it needs to realize its full potential.
For those nearly 400,000 people along Highway 14 and the businesses that serve them, the road is a central part of their daily lives. As businesses rely on this road for transporting goods and employees, they share the road with individuals who rely on Highway 14 to access world-class medical facilities in Rochester, or to commute to work. The road’s remaining two-lane segments not only make the current situation dangerous, but inhibit economic growth and investment.
Business and community leaders in Southern Minnesota have now waited for the expansion of Highway 14 for nearly 45 years—through the administrations of 9 US Presidents and 8 Minnesota Governors. With its large surplus and healthy economy, if ever the state was in a position to complete this important project, that day is today. With this in mind, we the undersigned business and community leaders leave you with a simple message: fix it now.