Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Congressional Transportation Status Report

About District 8

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District 8 Overview

Enhancing Financial Effectiveness

MnDOT is focused on stretching taxpayer dollars while continuing to deliver effective and highly valued products, services and programs. Today we are using technology, partnerships, performance-based design, contracting and other methods to reduce costs, save time and limit impacts to travelers, shippers and businesses in order to deliver efficient and reliable multimodal transportation. A strategic priority, financial effectiveness is demonstrated by the following programs, among others, at MnDOT District 8.

Project Acceleration

The 2014 mill and overlay project on Highway 40 in Chippewa and Kandiyohi Counties is a prime example of Enhancing Financial Effectiveness in District 8. The project was desperately needed due to deteriorating pavement conditions and was not schedule to be funded until 2016.    

By incorporating efficiencies into other projects, MnDOT District 8 was able to advance the Highway 40 project up by two years, resurfacing the roadway during the summer of 2014.

Strategically advancing this particular project resulted in:

  • A more cost-effective and lasting investment
  • A smoother ride for freight movement, and    
  • An improved lifecycle for the pavement over the long-term.

The project provided a positive return-on-investment with inflation cost savings, less product damage for shippers and a more structurally sound and longer-lasting pavement.

Manufacturers’ Perspectives on Minnesota’s Transportation System

In 2013, MnDOT District 8 initiated a study to better understand freight customer’s transportation priorities and challenges with the goal of incorporating their feedback into MnDOT’s planning and project development processes.

The project identified concerns and suggested improvements in the areas of infrastructure, maintenance, communications and policy.

The project’s cross-organization interview teams met with 60 manufacturers, 14 carriers and one distributor. The manufacturing firms represented a cross section of the region’s strongest industry clusters including processed food, agricultural products, information technology, building fixtures, equipment, services and heavy machinery.

The project provided new customer perspectives regarding the transportation system in District 8 and statewide. Respondents offered concrete and often location-specific feedback that will help guide near-term infrastructure, maintenance, operations, communications and policy improvements.

To apply the study results to system improvement, MnDOT is currently:

  1. Implementing an action plan that reflects respondents’ priorities and suggestions for District 8’s planning and operations.
  2. Reviewing District 8 data to identify recommendations that can inform statewide planning, development and best practices. 
  3. Building upon District 8 and MnDOT’s relationships among manufacturers, carriers, and economic development professionals to provide ongoing input into District 8 planning and project development.
  4. Adapting and refining the District 8 project approach for application in other regions of the state.

John Deere Equipment Rental

For the last 10 years, District 8 had been purchasing John Deere tractors to replace equipment that had exceeded their useful life cycle. The tractors, depending on the style and model, cost the district approximately $80,000 to $180,000 per unit.

District 8 typically has nine agricultural tractor/loaders at any given time. To save costs, MnDOT and the Department of Administration  contracted with vendors that could provide agricultural tractor rentals for MnDOT.

The first year of the program, District 8 received International Harvester tractors at a rate of $1 per tach hour during the summer months. The second year the district received John Deere tractors at a rate of $.01 per tach hour. The district now utilizes 10 tractors during the summer and will be getting six more with loaders for the upcoming winter.

The rental program has benefitted the district by freeing up money from an extremely tight budget and has allowed the district to look at other priorities that will help maintain the rest of their fleet.

Pilot Project: Marshall Inventory Vending Machines

District 8 has partnered with the Grainger Industrial Supply Company to test the viability of using vending machines to dispense some employee work products that have traditionally been distributed from the inventory center. 
District 8 has partnered with the Grainger Industrial Supply Company to test the viability of using vending machines to dispense some employee work products that have traditionally been distributed from the inventory center. 

District 8 has partnered with the Grainger Industrial Supply Company to test the viability of using vending machines to dispense some employee work products that have traditionally been distributed from the inventory center. 

The machines are stocked with a variety of supplies ranging from safety glasses to brake cleaner and give employees round-the-clock access to needed items. 

Access is obtained via employee key card and password. 

The machines provide detailed reporting including tracking inventory and job/employee data.