OWATONNA - New Ulm Mayor Bob Beussman was elected vice president for the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership on Monday during its annual meeting in Owatonna.
Beussman previously served on the Partnership's board of directors. He has been one of the most active public officials working to advocate for the long-sought four-lane expansion of Highway 14 between Mankato and New Ulm. The expansion is intended to end the high crash and fatality rates on the highway.
"I look forward to playing a more active role in advocating for Highway 14," said Beussman in a prepared statement, "We have about 1,000 commercial trucks that are based in New Ulm, all of which are dependent on this unsafe and inadequate two-lane road. There's no question that the delays of Highway 14 have a negative impact on our economic development."
The Partnership's primary focus for 2013 is getting the four-lane expansion of Highway 14 onto the Minnesota Department of Transportation's (MnDOT) 20-year State Highway Investment Plan. The Partnership wants to be on the plan to create pressure on MnDOT to finally finish the project. Another benefit to being placed on the plan would make Highway 14 eligible to any federal highway funds that could hypothetically be sent to Minnesota, because regulations permit only projects on MnDOT's plans to access the funds.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)