There is some discouraging news for those pushing for the completion of a 4-lane Highway 14 expansion from Nicollet to New Ulm. Shane Zahrt with the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership said the project was not selected as a BUILD grant recipient.
Over the summer, the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to apply for a $25 million grant through USDOT’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program. Had Highway 14 been selected for the federal funding, MnDOT would have committed more the $60 million in state funds to help make the project a reality, with Nicollet County also planning to contribute to the project.
The 12 miles between Nicollet and New Ulm is the final stretch of Highway 14 that remains unfunded in the more than 100 miles between New Ulm and Rochester. On November 1, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for an expansion project on 12 miles of highway between Owatonna and Dodge Center, a long-awaited project funded by the Legislature in 2018.
Zahrt said it’s disappointing news, but it just refocuses their attention to the upcoming legislative session in 2020. He was happy to see so many citizens rally together with letters of support for the grant and encourages them to continue to tell their stories and their hopes for the expansion.
Zahrt said that both Governor Walz and MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher have expressed their support for the project. Zahrt said with it being a bonding year, there may be some opportunity for progress on Highway 14.