In the final hours, the Minnesota Legislature passed the bonding bill, which included funding for Corridors of Commerce to finish a portion of the four-lane expansion of Highway 14.

North Mankato State Senator Nick Frentz.

“The bonding bill was approved with Corridors of Commerce funding of over $400 million. What this means for us is Highway 14 will have an important segment completed from Owatonna to Dodge Center,” explained North Mankato State Senator Nick Frentz.

Greater Mankato Growth President Jonathan Ziert called it a major milestone in the effort to expand the highway to four lanes all the way from New Ulm to Rochester, and Frentz agrees. He said, “That’s a great thing for the heart of southern Minnesota, from Mankato all the way to Rochester. That money is right here in the bonding bill spreadsheet and I was glad to vote for it.”

GMG Director of Government and Institutional Affairs Patrick Baker said the funding isn’t yet assured and is urging Governor Mark Dayton to sign the bonding bill into law because failing to do so will not only make the current situation more dangerous but inhibit economic growth and investment throughout southern Minnesota.

Greater Mankato Growth officials add that they will continue to advocate for Highway 14; next stop, New Ulm.

North Mankato State Representative Clark Johnson.

While North Mankato State Representative Clark Johnson concedes that the Corridors of Commerce funding is the “star of the show” for the south-central Minnesota region, he said there were other substantial projects included in it that will benefit the area, including, “The Clinical Sciences building at MSU. Gotta give my colleague (Mankato DFL State Representative) Jack Considine a lot of credit; he really worked hard on that. It’s really good to see that in this bill. I’m thrilled to see the dietary building up at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center. That’s where those folks cook and that’s a hot cooking area. That’s going to be rebuilt and those folks really deserve that.”

Johnson has wrapped up his final legislative session; he is not running for reelection this fall.