Minnesota Issues $32M in Grants for Highway Projects Supporting Development

AASHTO Journal, 15 January 2016

Minnesota’s Department of Transportation and Department of Employment and Economic Development awarded $32 million in grants under the state’s Transportation Economic Development program for 11 state highway projects that will support businesses, leverage private funding and help create jobs.

“For every public dollar we invest, Minnesota’s Transportation Economic Development program leverages an additional three dollars in economic development investment,” said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith as officials announced the awards Jan. 5.

Smith also used the occasion to emphasize that the state has a broad infrastructure funding gap to address.

“These are great projects, but they don’t come close to meeting our need for a sustainable, comprehensive solution to Minnesota’s transportation challenges,” she said. “If we want to grow jobs and our economy, we need a statewide transportation system that works everywhere, for Minnesotans and Minnesota businesses.”

“Transportation investments support jobs, create vibrant communities and position businesses for the global economy,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle. “MnDOT’s partnership with DEED and with the business community through the TED program has seen great results in promoting economic development all across the state.”

More information about the selected projects is available here.

The $32 million provided this year in state TED funds will help leverage other federal, state, local and private funding for a total construction program of $137 million. The state funds comprise $29.7 million in trunk highway dollars and $2.3 million from DEED general obligation bonds.

MnDOT and DEED received 22 project proposals to its 2015 solicitation, requesting more than $76 million in funding. The 11 project selections for grant support were based on consistency with transportation plans, economic benefits, project financing and project readiness. Officials estimate the recommended projects will create more than 5,900 jobs in the next five years.

Construction lettings are scheduled between 2016 and 2018.

Since 2011, MnDOT and DEED have provided nearly $77 million in TED grants to 28 communities through the TED program since 2011. Program criteria emphasize projects that enhance the statewide transportation network, and improvements that allow existing businesses to expand or new businesses to locate near the project area.

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