The $20 Million Road for No One in Minnesota

A writer laments the lack of return on investment reflected by a state DOT's decision to fund a highway-widening project for $20 million that will serve 1,100 daily car trips.

"MNDOT recently announced that it will be spending roughly 20 million to fix up Highway 66 which connects Good Thunder with Mankato." The problem with that plan, according to Matthias Leyrer, is that the choice to invest that much public money in this particular project is that it's a lot of money to spend on a very small amount of people, who may or may not even want the "improvements."

"The AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic) for this road is 1,100 cars. Roughly double the residency of Good Thunder or essentially every citizen coming to and from Mankato every day. If you want, think about it as $20,000 per car. Oh, did I mention that the road is about 12 miles long? So yet another way of thinking about it is roughly $1.6m a mile."

"Furthermore, a lot of people don’t even want the road to change to the degree the state has in mind. The state wants to widen it, make it straighter and design it for higher speeds. When they told this to the county, most of the residents along the road said 'screw that!'"

Leyrer summarizes his frustration with the project and its implications about transportation planning: "We have a problem in this country of upgrading, fixing or building infrastructure even if it’s ROI is little or nothing. We then have to maintain this infrastructure which has huge financial implications on our city, state and national budgets."

Full Story: How to Blow $20,000,000 on 1,100 People

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00