Highway 14 waiting game continues
Proponents of expanding Highway 14 to a four-lane highway all the way to New Ulm have been waiting a long time for the controllers of the transportation purse strings to come up with the funds to complete the job. We’re going to have to wait some more.
The federal Department of Transportation this week declined to give a BUILD (Better Using Investments to Leverage Development) grant of $25 million to leverage state funds for the completion of the project from Nicollet to New Ulm.
We don’t know why anyone thought the federal DOT grantmakers would be any more sympathetic to the Highway 14 project than the state DOT, which has kept the Nicollet to New Ulm portion on the “We’ll call you if a whole bunch of money falls out of the sky and we don’t need it anywhere else” list.
It seems the farther away people get from Highway 14, the less important it becomes. Those who have to drive on it every day know how desperately needed it is. But St. Paul is a couple of hours away, and the need becomes a lot less important. Washington D.C. is 1,100 miles farther away so guess how much they care.
The Highway 14 Partnership is focusing its attention back on the state to at least come up with a promise of putting up some money for Highway 14 in the near future. MnDOT is a lot closer than Washington, and we at least have a chance of being heard.