St. Paul – State Senator Joe Gimse (R – Willmar), Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel will be discussing the future of transportation in Minnesota at a meeting to be held on Friday, September 7th at the Willmar Airport. Among the issues to be discussed include MnDOT’s new approach to collaborative planning and collaboration as it relates to the State Highway Investment Plan (STIP).

“As the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I know firsthand that these are challenging times as the needs for Minnesota’s aging highway infrastructure is outpacing the available funding levels,” Gimse stated. “Corridor collaboratives are coalitions of public and private interests that work together to find alternative funding solutions to projects located throughout the state.”

One of the innovative approaches to be discussed at the meeting is MnDOT’s newly created Corridor Investment Management Strategy (CIMS) program. This program sets priorities at a corridor level by identifying performance-based investment needs based on preservation, safety, congestion and mobility over a ten year period. As these priorities are identified, MnDOT then works in cooperation with local corridor partners to identify high priority investment opportunities that also take into account quality of life and economic considerations.

“The CIMS program dovetails very well with a transportation proposal I have been crafting for presentation to the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee (TFAC) later this month,” Gimse commented. “My proposal will feature a menu of additional funding options that a joint powers board will have access to if they have the authorization of their local units of government. Options include public-private partnerships, capture increases in property value and bonding authority.”

Successful collaborative corridors that have leveraged the public and private partnership model around the state include the Highway 23 Coalition, the Highway 14 Partnership, the Highway 52 Corridor Coalition and the I-35W Transportation Alliance.

“In this day and age of limited financial resources in the transportation sector, collaborative corridors can play a big role in leveraging Minnesota’s precious transportation dollars,” Gimse said. “I look forward to working with our public and private partners to find innovative ways to continue the enhancement of our road and bridge infrastructure that will benefit Minnesota’s economy.”