District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls, alongside a bipartisan group of legislators and Gov. Tim Walz, recently announced a plan is in place to finish the expansion of U.S. Highway 14 from Nicollet to New Ulm.

Legislation authored by Sen. Nick Frentz of Mankato, Sen. Dahms, Sen. John Jasinski of Faribault, Sen. Julie Rosen of Vernon Center and Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis allows the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to secure a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan through the federal department of transportation. The loan will be administered by the Rural Project Initiative and the Build America Bureau.

For years, Dahms has carried bills to complete the Highway 14 expansion, as it directly affects his home district.

“I am so pleased that this project is finally going to be completed,” said Dahms. “Legislators from both sides of the aisle have worked tirelessly to achieve this end goal. The final expansion will not only improve commerce in the area but save lives. So many rural families depend on Highway 14 daily, and the completion will remove unnecessary danger from their day-to-day lives.”

“This is a great day for southern Minnesota,” said Jasinski. “We have been talking about expanding this highway for more than four decades, and I am proud that with this funding, we will finally be able to say that it is done.” 

“We all know Highway 14 is rife with safety hazards, and I am happy to see them finally resolved,” said Rosen. “Seventeen years ago, I championed Highway 14 from Janesville to Waseca, and this expansion is a long time coming and I am happy to see it done in a bipartisan effort. I am incredibly grateful for all involved and would like to thank Gov. Walz and Commissioner Anderson-Kelliher for their efforts as well.”

“I know how important it is for the area that we get the funding for Highway 14 and get this project across the finish line,” said Newman, chair of the Senate transportation finance and policy committee. “I’ve worked with Sen. Gary Dahms, who has been a big advocate for getting this done. There’s still work to do, but we’re getting closer and closer every day."

The time frame for the project is dependent on the state’s deliverance of proof and source of payment to the federal government. Once Minnesota’s credit is approved, the U.S. Department of Transportation will invite MnDOT to formally submit applications for reviewal.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) expects that construction could begin as early as Fall 2021, and the expected completion date in late 2023.

The entire application and approval process will likely take six to nine months.

Sen. Dahms is in his third term representing Senate District 16, which includes communities in Brown, Lac qui Parle, Lyon, Redwood, Renville and Yellow Medicine counties. He also serves as chair of the Senate commerce and consumer protection finance and policy committee and is an assistant majority leader.

- Photo courtesy of Senate Republican Caucus media