Hwy. 14 needs funding
To the editor:
I am disheartened by the news that Hwy. 14 was not included in the Corridors of Commerce funding this year. I have grown up in New Ulm and have driven Hwy. 14 more times than I can count. I have seen more than my share of accidents on the highway. There have been many attempts to improve Hwy. 14 safety such as adding dividers to prevent passing between Nicollet and Mankato and recently adding the four-lane in that stretch. This past winter there was another death on Hwy. 14 near Courtland. Hwy. 14 remains at the top of the list as the most dangerous highway in the state of Minnesota.
Rep. Clark Johnson (DFL-Mankato) and the Hwy. 14 Partnership warned in 2017 that the Corridors of Commerce scoring system put Greater Minnesota projects at a disadvantage when they did not connect to the metro area. Both sources identified concerns that Greater Minnesota would be less likely to receive highway expansions connecting regional centers due to the Legislative changes in criteria. The recent release of funding projects appears to confirm this as the selections are all within 40 miles of the Twin Cities. The challenge for us is that travel in Greater Minnesota spans further distance and therefore needs added funding to cover the span.
The Hwy. 14 Partnership notes that with approximately 400,000 people living between New Ulm and Rochester, Hwy. 14 is the most highly populated stretch of road in Greater Minnesota not to be connected by continuous four-lane highway. Hwy. 14 is the road by which people travel to work and school. It is the way to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It is the artery of hauling goods for many trucking companies.
It is disappointing that Greater Minnesota relies heavily on Corridors of Commerce because the Legislature is not adequately funding transportation needs across the state. We deserve a State Representative that will make funding for Hwy. 14 a priority.
(Mindy Kimmel is a DFL candidate for House District 16B currently held by Rep. Paul Torkelson.)