A bipartisan Senate bill to finish U.S. Highway 14 upgrades and safety improvements including four-lane expansion from New Ulm to Nicollet, unanimously passed a Senate hearing Tuesday. The bill, authored by Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato) and co-authored by Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls), was sent to other committees before reaching the Senate floor. A companion bill is moving in the House. Upon final passage of the bill, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) plans to apply for a federal loan and a federal transportation grant to pay for the $74 million project. The $37 million federal loan would have a federally-subsided interest rate of only half the U.S. Treasury rate. Stretches of Highway 14 that are still just two lanes are in some of the highest truck-traffic-per-mile highway in the state.