Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Corridors of Commerce

Fostering economic growth with transportation investments

About the program

Currently, there is no additional funding for the Corridors of Commerce program. The Corridors of Commerce program is dependent on legislative funding and for the time being solicitations are not in session. Recognizing that transportation investments directly and indirectly foster economic growth through the provisioning of construction jobs, enabling goods to be transported through a commerce friendly network of corridors and providing mobility to citizens; MnDOT is committed to investing in our roads and bridges that contribute to a growing economy and will continue supporting commerce.

In 2017, the eligibility requirements were updated by the legislative session where MnDOT began the development of a formalized project selection process. While developing the scoring process and factors to be used for each criteria, MnDOT conducted two rounds of input meetings across the state seeking input from stakeholders, businesses, corridor coalitions and the public. In addition, MnDOT used these meetings to draw attention to the 2017 changes to the Corridors of Commerce law to promote understanding about the process and criteria. After considerable input, particularly regarding the new "regional balance" criteria, in January 2018, MnDOT adopted its new "Corridors of Commerce Program Guidance & Selection Process."

In 2014, the Legislature provided an additional $31.5 million in trunk highway funds for FY 2014 and FY 2015. In 2017, the Legislature added $300 million in trunk highway bonds spread over four years and $25 million per year in cash. In response, MnDOT solicitated projects and selected about $400 million of projects for the 2018 Corridors of Commerce program.

The 2013 Minnesota Legislature created the Corridors of Commerce program, Minnesota Statute 161.088. Authorizing the sale of up to $300 million in new trunk highway bonds for the construction, reconstruction and improvement of trunk highways for projects not already in the State Transportation Improvement program (STIP). This was to further two major goals:

  • Provide additional highway capacity on segments where there are currently bottlenecks in the system.
  • Improve the movement of freight and reduce barriers to commerce.

Eligibility

Projects must meet the eligibility requirements identified in law in order to receive Corridors of Commerce funding. The eligibility requirements within the law are as follows:

  • Projects must be consistent with the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan (SMTP)
  • Projects must be able to begin within four years of award of funding.
  • Projects must be on the Interregional Corridor Network in Greater Minnesota or any state highway in the eight-county MnDOT Metropolitan District.
  • Projects must either develop additional system capacity or demonstrate improvement for freight movement (reduce bottlenecks).
  • The amount of Corridors of Commerce funding needed to construct the project (including construction cost, right-of-way, engineering) cannot exceed the amount of funding available.
  • A proposed project that has an identical project already listed in MnDOT’s STIP is not eligible.

Scoring criteria

All projects will be evaluated using the following criteria that is legislatively mandated with each being worth 100 points. MnDOT will use a soft 50-50 split between the two geographic regions of the Metro and Greater Minnesota areas to award the funding. A soft split means the regions will each receive approximately half the funding, but it may not be exactly 50 percent.

Criteria Points available
Return on investment 100
Economic impact 100
Freight efficiency 100
Safety improvements 100
Regional connections 100
Policy objectives 100
Community consensus 100
Maximum points 700

The Corridors of Commerce law includes eight criteria that MnDOT must use to score and rank projects for the program with no additional criteria added. The listed criteria above account for seven of the eight criteria. The eighth criteria, Regional Balance, is set-up as a funding division criteria that will be applied after the projects have been scored and ranked using the above seven criteria.