MnDOT: More money needed to maintain highways

By KBJR News 1

January 3, 2014 Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 5:39 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Minnesota Department of Transportation says they only have $18 of the $30 billion they need to maintain the state's highway system over the next 20 years.

MnDOT finalized their 20–year State Highway Investment Plan (MnSHIP) in December. The plan prioritizes spending on the state highway system.

"It is a very big gap and the final outcome of that over 20 years, if there is not a change in the funding scenario, is that there will be more poor-condition bridges and more poor-condition pavements in our system at the end of that time period," said MnDOT District 1 Engineer Duane Hill during an interview Friday on KBJR 6 and Range 11 News Today.

Hill says that the $30 billion only includes the funding needed to maintain the current highway system, not improvements.

"This helps set the framework for what the needs really are," said Hill.

In a press release issued last month, MnDOT estimated that the number of roads and bridges in poor condition will more than double, perhaps triple, within 20 years.

“The investment priorities in MnSHIP illustrate the increasing constraints on highway planning in Minnesota. Growth in construction costs continues to outpace growth in revenue and, as the highway system ages, needs are increasing,” MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle said in the press release, “In particular, investments in the second 10 years do not address many system needs.”

To view the final plan, visit the MnSHIP website.