Officials seek to grow, improve state's transportation networkby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Transportation advocates say the state needs to improve its transportation network to help local businesses and the economy.
Officials from MnDOT, policy groups and the Minnesota business community met at a transportation roundtable Monday in St. Paul to share ideas for financing, improving and maintaining roads and transit.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that every dollar invested in infrastructure generates $1.60 in new economic growth.
Margaret Donahoe, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, said transportation improvements will also create needed construction jobs in the state.
"They are the kind of jobs that generate a multiplier effect in local economies," Donahoe said. "At the same time, we are building the infrastructure that other general businesses need to move products, to move people. To do what they do, they have to have that transportation infrastructure."
Deficient surface transportation infrastructure cost the nation's businesses nearly $125 billion in 2010, Donahoe said. The MTO estimates deficient infrastructure will cost the country nearly $3 trillion by 2040.
"Congestion is a very real issue for businesses as they try to move products and get their workers to the job," she said. "When products and trucks are stuck in traffic there is a very real cost. General Mills has estimated that they lose $2 million dollars an hour for every mile below the posted speed limit."