Uncertain Federal Funding Threatens Vital Transportation Projects in Minnesota, Report Says

AASHTO Journal, 4 April 2014

A report released by transportation nonprofit TRIP last week shows that more than half of Minnesota’s “key” transportation projects are unfunded and, according to TRIP, that demonstrates the need for strong and reliable federal transportation investment.

The report, “Project Green Light: Moving Minnesota’s Top Transportation Improvements Forward,” identifies the 50 most critical transportation projects across the state. Those projects include bridge rehabilitation and replacements, pavement improvements, statewide safety improvements, congestion relief projects, lane additions, highway expansions, expand bike and pedestrian facilities, and additional bus and paratransit support. The projects were chosen by TRIP as those most important in enhancing development (through economic growth, mobility, and improving safety) in the region and the state. Once identified, TRIP gave each project a green, yellow, or red light—green indicating full funding for the project (or having full funding by 2019), yellow lights for limited funding available or uncertain funding, and red for no funding currently available or anticipated through 2019.

TRIP gave a green light to only seven of the state’s key transportation projects, while eight projects were given a yellow light. Thirty-five projects received a red light, as TRIP did not anticipate funding for those projects if funding continues on its current path. The report highlights the need for a Highway Trust Fund fix and the reauthorization of a surface transportation bill to succeed MAP-21.

“Turning the red lights, which currently face many of the state’s critically needed transportation improvements, to green lights will require increased transportation investment at the local, state and federal level,” according to TRIP. “But a lack of adequate funding of the federal program may result in a significant cut in federal funding for the state’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems.”

TRIP’s 34-page report is available here.

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