On Thursday, December 21, 2017, three board members of the Highway 23 Coalition were welcomed to Speaker of the House, Kurt Daudt¹s office in St. Paul to visit with him about the needs of completing the two 2-lane gaps between Willmar and St. Cloud to become a continuous 4-lane Corridor.
In attendance were Jason Duininck, Donna Boonstra, and Jeff Bertram.
It was explained to Speaker Daudt that the Minnesota Highway 23 Coalition was organized to raise awareness and show support for improvements along the corridor from Marshall to I-94; that members are a committed and concerned group and have officially organized with an elected 9-member board of directors.
He was advised that the Coalition members include businesses, cities, counties and townships as well as various other organizations from St. Cloud to Marshall.
They also shared the following facts:
- Highway 23 is the 2nd longest route in MN and it connects Southwest Minnesota to the Northeast corner of the state.
- Willmar is the largest city in the state that does not have a continuous 4-lane highway that connects directly to the Twin Cities metro area.
- For the period of 01-01-10 through 12-31-16, the total Single Trip Permits for oversized and overweight loads issued which traveled on MN 23 statewide exceeded 10,500 permits, and if 2017 trips were added with all the windmill turbines and equipment that traveled the corridor that figure would be far greater.
There was much discussion about the eight criteria requirements of the Corridors of Commerce funding and how the funds need to be shared and split fairly across the state. It was impressed upon him that the Department of Transportation be encouraged to see the entire state as a transportation network.
Networks work together to make the entire system strong and more viable; and for doing what is best for the good of ALL of the state of Minnesota.
Speaker Daudt was very impressed that the Coalition is well organized with excellent member representation and he was open to hearing all that was being shared with him and assured the Coalition that he is a supporter of the Coalition and its cause.