Metro District 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.
Metro District has a diverse industry base consisting of manufacturing, construction, financial services, healthcare, retail trade, education, transportation, and agriculture. The Twin Cities is a regional center for commerce and is a hub for rail and highway networks that serve much of the rest of the state and region, which contributes to unique transportation challenges for the district. Regional freight issues in Metro include traffic congestion and travel time reliability, access to intermodal ports and infrastructure (including first- and last-mile connections), and rail crossing safety.
Multimodal Freight Planning
MnDOT is completing a state-wide study on Manufacturers’ Perspective on Minnesota’s Transportation System, with a project in Metro District currently underway. The Metro Freight Studies Roundup, a recent kick-off event for the Metro study highlighted recently-completed (or currently underway) freight studies in the Metro area.
The Twin Cities Metro Area Regional Freight Initiative (2012) explores issues such as highway and rail traffic congestion, aging infrastructure, conflicts over land use, and freight system impacts on communities. The study recommends ways to improve coordinated freight system planning to address the issues that are affecting the region’s economic competitiveness.
The Using Truck GPS Data for Freight Performance Analysis in the Twin Cities Metro Area study was completed in March of 2014. GPS-based data was used to study the freight performance of heavy commercial trucks along key freight corridors in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Ports and Waterways
The Metro District has ports on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. The St. Paul Port Authority owns and manages four ports on the Mississippi River. More than a dozen privately-owned terminals operate on the Mississippi River below St. Paul and on the Minnesota River in Savage. With the closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam in 2015, the City of Minneapolis ceased river operations at its port in north Minneapolis.
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.