The CGMC supports Corridors of Commerce as a financing program for highway expansion projects. It is MnDOT’s policy to dedicate half of Corridors of Commerce funding to Greater Minnesota and half to the metro area.
Last week, the House Transportation Committee took a detailed look at MnDOT’s selection process, including a Legislative Auditor report which showed how projects are selected based on maintenance and road conditions. Corridors of Commerce provides a separate source of funds for highway expansion. Otherwise, the project selection process does not favor highway expansion or major re-design projects.
Because of this, many legislators like the Corridors of Commerce program. There are currently three bills calling for funding the program. First, there is the CGMC-supported bill, HF677/SF904, authored by Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) and Sen. John Jasinski (R-Faribault). This bill dedicates $300 million in trunk highway bonds to Corridors of Commerce, as well as $50 million a year of general fund dollars in years there is a budget surplus. The second bill, HF231/SF313, authored by Rep. Eric Lucero (R-Dayton) and Sen. Jasinski, would fund Corridors of Commerce at $200 million a year for two years. The third bill, HF460/SF556, authored by Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent) and Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls), dedicates the money generated from the tax on rental vehicles to Corridors of Commerce.
A comprehensive transportation funding package may bring more funding for Corridors of Commerce. However, these bills can travel on their own if the Legislature is unable to reach an agreement on a comprehensive transportation bill this session.