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Minnesota Department of Transportation

The Minnesota Department of Transportation was created by the State Legislature in 1976. Its role is to develop and implement policies, plans and programs for highways, railroads, commercial waterways, aeronautics, public transit and motor carriers.

Mn/DOT serves the citizens of Minnesota who are concerned with having:
  • Access to goods and services when and where they want them
  • Transportation choices that balance personal, social, economic, and environmental values
  • All transportation systems and services work smoothly together

The primary mode of transportation in Minnesota is highways. Minnesota has the fifth largest highway system in the United States.

Mn/DOT is directly responsible for the trunk highway system and its bridges. Even though state highways and interstates only make up about nine percent of the total statewide system mileage, they carry about 61 percent of the annual vehicle miles of travel. The remaining roads are under the jurisdiction of local governments.

Mn/DOT also has jurisdiction over all signs within trunk highway rights-of-way, all billboards along the trunk highways, and all ramp-metering devices in the metro area.


The first railroad constructed in Minnesota was in 1862. The state's rail system peaked in 1930 at 9,362 miles. Today, many rail lines have been abandoned for other transportation modes. Some rail beds have been converted to paved bike trails.

While continuing to encourage the use of freight rail, Mn/DOT and other agencies are working together to bring commuter rail and high-speed rail to Minnesota.

Commercial Waterways

Minnesota has two principle commercial waterways, the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system and the Mississippi River (including its tributaries, the Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers).

Minnesota's agricultural and mining economies depend heavily on these waterways. Over three-fourths of the total grain shipments from the state travel by barge,large vessel, or salt water ship. Mn/DOT is directly involved with the development of commercial navigation, policy and planning concerning water transportation, legislation and rehabilitation of commercial freight facilities.


The Minnesota Aviation System Plan has publicly owned airports and Seaplane bases as well as privately owned airports. Mn/DOT, in conjunction with Piney, Manitoba, Canada, operates one facility in Pine Creek, Minnesota.

The Mn/DOT Office of Aeronautics provides technical and financial assistance to publicly owned airports for responsibilities such as airport master planning and land acquisition. The office also works to enhance aviation safety through various programs such as aviation flight safety seminars and flight schools, and aviation weather on public television.


Annually, approximately 100 million trips are provided by transit systems throughout the state. Transit service is made possible through a financial partnership that includes local, state and federal participation. Mn/DOT's Office of Transit provides both financial and technical assistance to public transit systems in most Greater Minnesota counties. The Office also maintains a statewide system plan for bicycle transportation and promotes non-travel alternatives such as teleworking.

In its efforts to provide transportation options, Mn/DOT is building a light rail transit line along Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis. Light rail will be part of a coordinated system that includes park and ride lots, bus service and commuter rail.

Motor Carrier Services

The Office of Motor Carrier Services administers and enforces regulation governing the for-hire and private motor carrier industry within Minnesota. Mn/DOT also regulates limousines, vehicles transporting the elderly and disabled, and building movers. To ensure that Minnesota highways are safe for the motoring public, MN/DOT enforces motor carrier safety regulations that set minimum safety standards for motor carriers.

© 2005 Minnesota Department of Transportation
395 John Ireland Boulevard St. Paul, MN 55155-1899
Phone: 800/657-3774 800/627-3529 (TTY, Voice, ASCII)
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