This week, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) released a draft 20-year plan for 2018-2037, which estimates that the state’s highway and bridge system will face an $18 billion deficit over that time period. While the report estimates that revenues will increase by 2 percent annually over that time period, construction costs will increase at an annual rate of 4.5 percent. Increased vehicle fuel efficiency and flat miles travelled also contribute to the revenue shortfall since less gasoline use means less gas tax revenue.

The 20-year plan reflects a focus on maintenance. MnDOT will be able to ensure federal standards for pavement and bridges, but will fall short of Minnesota standards. Interstate highways will get top priority, followed by federal highways and then state highways. The same priorities apply to bridges. MnDOT will rely on the Transportation Economic Development (TED) grant program for modest highway improvement projects.

The full vision for transportation is available at www.minnesotago.org. The 20-year plan, which is a part of that vision, can be read here. MnDOT will hold a public hearing on the plan at 4 p.m. on Oct. 6, with access to the hearing available at its headquarters as well as all of the regional offices.