MnDOT releases statewide freight system plan
The Minnesota Department of Transportation released the 2016 Statewide Freight System Plan, which guides the agency and its partners in preserving and improving the state's freight transportation system.
The freight plan describes the state's current freight system and its role in Minnesota's economy, current and emerging trends, system performance and current and future issues and needs. The 2016 plan is one of MnDOT's transportation plans that support the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan and the Minnesota GO 50-year for transportation in the state.
"Our freight transportation system allows Minnesota industries and businesses to move their goods and products to market, both within and outside Minnesota, including internationally," said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. "The freight system also serves our communities and Minnesota consumers; it needs to be reliable, safe and efficient."
Freight tonnage is expected to grow significantly by 2040, demanding improvements in the condition and capacity of freight infrastructure, including roads and bridges, rail lines and ports, according to Bill Gardner, Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations director.
"From the beginning, the public-private advisory committee that guided the development of the plan made clear that its objective was a realistic action plan," he said. "The plan's action agenda outlines the next steps that MnDOT and its freight industry partners can take to keep pace with the expected growth."
The action agenda addresses challenges and strategies that will improve performance for highways, rail, waterways and air. The highest priorities for future action are system reliability, safety, congestion, bridge and pavement condition, and economic development.
The Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee was instrumental in helping MnDOT develop the plan and will oversee and help guide its implementation in the future, Gardner said.
"An efficient and effective freight transportation system will help us maintain our economic competitiveness in the national and global marketplace," said Bill Goins, MFAC chair.
The plan and a video explaining the plan development are online at www.mndot.gov/planning/freightplan/index.html.