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Minnesota Regional Freight Plans

Northern Minnesota & Northwest Wisconsin Freight Plan

Western (Red River) Freight Plan

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Planning Process

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) will be working with a consulting team comprised of Wilbur Smith Associates, SRF Consulting Group, and C J Petersen & Associates to complete several key tasks to inform the Regional Freight Plans. These tasks include:

 

Task 1: Freight System Inventory

Identify the freight components that constitute the region’s core freight system, carrying high volumes or value of freight.  This involves describing the domestic and international commodity flows and trade relationships affecting the Northern MN/WI and Western Minnesota Regions. It also includes an analysis of the demographic, economic and trade trends affecting commercial transportation demands and infrastructure needs in the Northern MN/WI and Western MN Regions.

 

Task 2: Freight Analysis

Identify key deficiencies in the freight transportation system in the region such as capacity, infrastructure condition, levels of service, access to markets, intermodal needs, cost of service, or other issues related to infrastructure, operations or regulation of the freight system. This task also identifies the strengths in the region from a freight perspective as well. 

 

Task 3: Regional Freight Issues and Trends

Identify region- and industry-specific issues and trends through private-sector outreach. This will include up to several face-to-face industry interviews with contacts identified jointly by the Consultant team and the Steering Committee for each regional study. Fresh insight into transportation operations, economics, and issues derived from this outreach process will be of premium importance.

 

Task 4: Program Analysis

Identify the impacts from and opportunities for improvement within Mn/DOT’s and WisDOT’s existing freight programs on the region—Commercial Vehicle Operations including licensing, permitting, and regulations, Grade Crossing Safety Improvement Program, MRSI (Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program), Port Development Assistance Program, air cargo, State Transportation Plan and Policy, and national, regional, District, MPO, and local programs. Assessment will also determine program impact on present and future freight considerations on transportation policies, planning, and programming within the study area.

 

Task 5: Outreach

Conduct focused interviews and presentations with public and private partners to validate and flesh out key regional needs. Incorporate observations and inputs from these stakeholders into freight study. Undertake active outreach throughout project timeline, with special emphasis on vetting major deliverables and findings.

 

Task 6: Recommendations

Identify institutional issues and infrastructure deficiencies that result in chronic and/or event specific weaknesses/failures of the multimodal freight transportation networks in each region for shippers, receivers and carriers, and develop transportation policy and investment responses to those issues.

 

Project Management

Mn/DOT’s Freight Planning and Program Development Unit in the Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations is managing the Regional Freight Plans. For more information, contact the project management staff:

 

Dave Christianson, Freight Planning Manager, 651-366-3710

 

Northern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin Freight Plan

Matt Pahs, Project Manager, 651-366-3694

 

Western Minnesota (Red River) Freight Plan

John Tompkins, Project Manager, 651-366-3724