Task 1: Stakeholder Engagement. A variety of methods to gather feedback (e.g. one-on-one meetings, a freight summit, online survey, etc.) will be employed to allow the team to listen for physical and operational issues with respect to transportation, and to how MnDOT can help industries successfully address transportation issues. This outreach strategy will not only serve to enhance MnDOT’s understanding of critical issues facing businesses, but will also begin the development of a prioritized needs list.
Task 2: Data Synthesis and Baseline Assessment. MnDOT and other state partners have expended significant efforts to develop statewide and regional plans and studies, and assess available freight data. The focus of this Minnesota Statewide Freight System Plan is to create new, useful information that builds on such efforts and enables MnDOT to move forward with freight system planning, programming, construction, and operations. This task will quickly compile what is already known about Minnesota’s goods movement trends, needs and issues; provide an inventory of the goods movement system based on available data; and begin to establish the economic importance of the system.
Task 3: Minnesota Freight Policy. This task will establish a freight system framework and multimodal transportation goals and policies that will contribute to increasing Minnesota jobs, improving economic competitiveness, and enhancing quality of life. Development of these components will be closely coordinated with Minnesota GO, the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan, the Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan, as well as through guidance from the Plan Advisory Committee.
Task 4: Project Development Guidance. This task identifies freight system needs, issues and opportunities and categorizes them based on mode, type, geography and other features. Compelling freight-specific performance measures developed in this task can be used to identify chokepoints and other capital investments. Operational needs will be considered in the business context. Finally, Minnesota’s Primary Freight Network — the key, multimodal infrastructure elements that are conduits for the state’s economy — will be defined as part of this task.
Task 5: Implementation Plan. This Plan will document the value of freight transportation investments to Minnesota for MnDOT, elected officials and the general public. In this task a “Freight Action Agenda” will be formed, comprising a range of strategies that MnDOT and other Minnesota freight stakeholders should act on in the near-term. The Agenda will include physical, operational and policy actions. Low-cost “freight” projects and operational strategies that MnDOT can quickly pursue will be highlighted so that the responsiveness of government to business needs can be shown. This task will also position Minnesota to be eligible for available federal funding to address freight needs.