The Minnesota Department of Transportation is providing four port projects with grants totaling $14 million to support freight movement on the state’s waterways.
[Above photo by David Gonzalez for the Minnesota DOT.]
That funding, from the agency’s Port Development Assistance Program or PDAP, helps support one port project in the Twin Cities metro area along with three others in Greater Minnesota.
The Minnesota DOT added that PDAP funding combines with federal, local and private funding for a total ports construction program of $26.7 million.
“Access to Minnesota ports is a vital part of Minnesota’s multimodal freight transportation system,” said Bill Gardner, director of the agency’s Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations, in a statement.
“The projects funded through this program maintain and expand critical commercial connections, promote local economic development at Minnesota ports, and support statewide jobs through expedited freight movement, including agricultural and other commodities,” he noted.
This effort mirrors others that the Minnesota DOT is taking to improve its freight transportation system.
In December 2020, the agency awarded $61 million in funds to 13 highway infrastructure projects to improve freight mobility, safety, and first- and last-mile freight connections statewide.
The agency is also compiling a freight plan for its District 2 region: a plan focused on supporting the safe and efficient movement of agricultural commodities, forestry products, and manufactured goods.
The Minnesota DOT – which released a draft of that plan for public comment in September 2020 – said that it “desires to provide a freight transportation system that attracts new businesses and enables others to maintain and grow their presence in northwest Minnesota.”
To do this, the agency added that it is “essential” to coordinate statewide freight planning with local transportation and economic development partners to provide “a clear understanding of the multimodal freight system, local industry use of the system and their needs and concerns.”