Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Congressional Transportation Status Report


District 1 freight, rail and waterways

MnDOT's Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations improves the performance of the multimodal freight transportation system serving Minnesota by planning and delivering freight infrastructure projects, and by ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations.

The 2016 Statewide Freight System Plan provides a policy framework and strategies for MnDOT and other freight stakeholders to guide planning and investment in various transportation modes. Developed cooperatively with private and other public entities, the comprehensive plan also provides guidelines in project development and operational decisions, in accordance with the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) and the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act.

District 1 is unique being home to three Lake Superior ports on the Great Lake St. Lawrence Seaway System, providing access from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Truck and rail also contribute to the transport of goods and services throughout the state.

The major industries of northeastern Minnesota are forestry, mining, shipping and tourism. The largest commodity group exported out of the region is metallic ores, which accounts for 65 percent of all outbound tonnage. Lumber and wood products are the second largest commodity group exported out of the region.

Multimodal freight planning

Manufacturers' Perspectives on Minnesota's Transportation System – District 1

Since 2013, MnDOT has been interviewing Minnesota businesses to get feedback and better understand their specific freight transportation requirements. This project helps MnDOT identify low-cost/high-value opportunities to provide a more responsive transportation system, focusing on infrastructure, maintenance, communication, and permitting and policy.

Visit the MnDOT Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations for information about other statewide freight plans and studies.

Ports and waterways

Minnesota has three active ports on Lake Superior: Duluth/Superior, Two Harbors and Silver Bay. They are a part of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, providing access to the rest of the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Minnesota Port Development Assistance Program (PDAP) provides the state’s public port authorities with capital investment funding assistance through grants. It's administered by MnDOT's Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations.