In 2013, the Minnesota State Legislature created the Corridors of Commerce program for the construction, reconstruction, and improvement of trunk (state) highways with a focus on two major goals: providing additional highway capacity on segments where there are currently bottlenecks in the system and to improve freight and reduce barriers to commerce. The Corridors of Commerce program recognizes that transportation contributes to a growing economy by supporting commerce and transportation investments directly, as well as indirectly fostering economic growth through improvements on corridors to ship goods and provide mobility to residents and visitors.
Funding availability for the Corridors of Commerce program has varied since 2013. In 2017, the Minnesota State Legislature added $300 million in trunk highway bonds spread over four years and $25 million per year in cash for state fiscal years 2018-2022. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has decided to fund/approve $400 million of projects statewide in 2018. MnDOT will use an approximate 50-50 split between the Metro Area and Greater Minnesota to award the funding. The Corridors of Commerce program involves a competitive selection of projects on the trunk highway system, targeting transportation routes identified as important links for regional and statewide economic growth.
Minneapolis Public Works evaluated the program criteria against known City plans, studies, and priorities, and worked with our partner agencies in developing a list of projects for which the City wishes to express its support. On the list of supported projects, the City is the submitting agency for the reconfiguration of the existing Hiawatha Avenue and Lake Street (Hi-Lake) Interchange from a Single Point Urban Interchange to a Tight Diamond Interchange, which is supported by our partner agencies at Hennepin County, Metro Transit, and MnDOT. All other listed projects were submitted by various project sponsors.
The request is for the passage of a resolution defining the City’s support for the following list of projects, in priority order based on benefit for Minneapolis residents, workers, businesses, freight operators, and visitors:
- Hi-Lake Interchange Reconfiguration (TH 55 at CSAH 3)
- I-35W MnPASS Lanes between TH 36 and Downtown Minneapolis – Phase 4 of I-35W North Project
- I-94/TH 252 Freeway Conversion and MnPASS Lanes between Dowling Avenue and TH 610
- I-94 and TH 280/Cretin Avenue/Vandalia Street System Interchange Reconstruction
- TH 62 between I-35W and TH 77 Auxiliary lanes
See Attachment B for a project location map.
Minneapolis supports the expansion of the MnPASS system as it relates to projects 2 and 3 due to the transit advantages that MnPass would provide to the people living, working, and visiting Minneapolis. Furthermore, Minneapolis supports implementation of MnPASS by converting general purpose lanes wherever feasible and only constructing additional lanes where additional lanes are deemed necessary in order to maintain reliable transit advantages.