USDOT to provide $48.2M for rural highway safety project in Minnesota

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it would provide the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) up to $48.2 million in a low-interest loan for a rural highway safety project.

The Bureau helps communities across the country reduce the costs of infrastructure projects by providing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans, known as TIFIA loans, and other types of financing, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Under the Rural Projects Initiative (RPI), this loan is for half the treasury rate and for nearly half the $98.38 million project costs instead of the customary 33 percent, which refers to the project costs determining the loan dollar amount. For Rural Projects, the Transportation Department allows up to 49 percent of project costs to be financed.

“The project will enhance safety and reduce travel time, improving access to vital services for communities on the corridor. These improvements will both provide a higher quality of life for rural Minnesotans and save lives,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg.

The project includes a new interchange, safer intersections in New Ulm, new turn lanes, three bridge replacements, two new bridges, safety improvements and modernizations, a snow fence, and improved lighting. The project is expected to be finished in 2024.

The funding is part of the USDOT’s comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, which includes historic levels of funding to address safety, especially in rural areas where more traffic injuries and fatalities occur.

“I am pleased to see our partners in Minnesota have successfully closed their first loan under our TIFIA Program, which will help them deliver much-needed improvements sooner and cheaper at a very low financing cost,” said Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “The Bureau is continually looking to assist more partners to explore innovative options and offer consultation and technical assistance to deliver their projects more efficiently and effectively.”