As part of the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership’s efforts to fund the highway’s four-lane expansion between Rochester and Mankato, attorney/lobbyist J.D. Burton helped secure a letter written by the state Senate transportation committee to President Obama. The letter voices support for a federal surface transportation bill to provide resources for the southern Minnesota project. The committee’s letter reflects the legislature’s concern that Highway 14 remains an unfinished and deadly highway. Calling Highway 14 “an important safety project,” the committee urged President Obama to support increased federal funding for transportation projects, particularly through the passage of a surface transportation bill.
The committee’s letter is notable both in its rarity (the committee as a body normally does not send letters to the president in support of an individual state project), and in the fact that only one of the signatories—Sen. Mike Parry (R-Owatonna)—is a Highway 14 legislator. The genesis of the letter came from a Senate transportation committee meeting, at which members considered S.F. 2794/Sheran, a bill to complete the Highway 14 expansion project. During that discussion, several members expressed their concern that Highway 14 is taking too long to complete and should be a high priority for the state.