Make funding Highway 14 a priority

To the editor:

I am disheartened by the news that Highway 14 was not included in the Corridors of Commerce funding this year. I have grown up in New Ulm and have driven Highway 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 Highway 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 Highway 14 near Courtland. Highway 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 Highway14 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 Highway 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 Highway 14 a priority.

Mindy Kimmel

New Ulm