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.
July 15, 2014, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"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."

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Published on Thursday, July 10, 2014 in Streets MN
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