Freight, Rail and Waterways
The Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations (OFCVO) is dedicated to improving the safety and productivity of Minnesota’s multimodal transportation system in District 1 and throughout the state.
The 2009 Northern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin Regional Freight Study identified significant industry trends, highlighted commercial logistics issues, and suggested improvements in goods movement for Minnesota industries.
The Minnesota Statewide Comprehensive Freight and Passenger Rail Plan, completed in February 2010, provides an overall vision for effective utilization of the state’s freight rail network and its future development. One purpose was to ensure that efficient, competitive services will be available to rail customers and that freight access to local and global markets is enhanced. In addition, the plan identifies priority rail corridors, programs, and projects that will offer effective improvements or expansion for passenger travel in and out of Minnesota.
Highway / Rail at-Grade Crossing Program
This safety program seeks to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries at public highway/rail grade crossings through the elimination of hazards and/or the installation/upgrade of protective devices at crossings. This program is primarily funded through the FHWA Section 130 program.
MnDOT will perform 81 railroad safety improvement projects statewide at a cost of $25 Million between 2012 and 2015. These projects are funded through the Highway / Rail at-Grade Crossing Program and the Rail-Highway Crossing Hazard Elimination in High-Speed Rail Corridors Program. Listed is a project breakdown for District 1:
|2012||Warning device upgrades at 3 crossings||$725,000|
|2013||Warning device upgrades at 4 crossings||$935,000|
|2014||Close 1 crossing and install gates at 1 crossing||$8775,000|
|2015||Warning device upgrades at 3 crossings||$900,000|
Minnesota Rail Service Improvement
This program provides funding for projects in the following categories:
- Rail Purchase Assistance — financially assists Regional Rail Authorities in acquiring rail lines.
- Rail Rehabilitation — provides low or no-interest loans to rehabilitate and preserve rail lines.
- Capital Improvement Loans — provides rail service and strengthens the financial condition of the associated line.
- Rail User and Rail Carrier Loan Guarantee — guarantees up to 90 percent of a loan to assist rail users and carriers in obtaining loans.
- State Rail Bank — acquires and preserves abandoned rail for future transportation use.
Port Development Assistance Program
MnDOT provides technical support, coordination with ports and the Army Corps of Engineers and financial assistance for improving port access and facilities. Improvements include road and rail connections and dock and warehouse capital investment. This program is funded through state of Minnesota appropriations.
- Duluth Seaway Port Authority
Description: Construct 900 feet of dock wall at D Dock and resurface dock area
Construction time: May 2012-October 2013
Total Construction cost $ 4,000,000.00
Total State cost = $ 2,000,000.00
Estimated State cost in FY 2012 = $ 250,000.00
Estimated State cost in FY 2013 = S 1,000,000.00
Estimated State cost in FY 2014 = $ 750,000.00
Commercial Vehicle Operations
MnDOT is continuing to improve vehicle licensing, special permitting, driver and vehicle safety programs and reporting and hazardous materials oversight and reporting. Special emphasis is being placed on efficient movement and planning for over-dimension cargo, such as wind turbine components traveling through the ports and across the state.