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Jackson, Windom receive highway funding

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced Friday that Windom and Jackson will both be receiving needed grants for area highway improvement projects, according to an email from District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton.

According to a press release issued by DEED, Hamilton said, 14 highway improvement and infrastructure projects in Minnesota were approved for $25.5 million in funding under the Transportation Economic Development (TED) Program.

TED, now in its second year, is part of a joint effort by the Minnesota DEED and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to improve transportation infrastructure, create jobs and encourage economic development in the state.

Communities that apply for TED funding must document job growth or retention and the ability to complete the projects, including showing they have additional sources of funding and can meet environmental requirements and other planning standards.

MnDOT provided $20 million for this year's grants, with DEED covering the remaining funding, primarily through bonding approved by the 2012 Legislature.

Hamilton explained that the city of Windom received $1.1 million in funding, which will be used for improvements on U.S. 71 and an access road for the first phase of the North Windom Industrial Park. The project will allow Toro and General Sheet Metal Works, a Toro supplier, to retain more than 700 jobs and add another 70 jobs over the next five years.

The city of Jackson, Hamilton added, will get $1.8 million. A diamond interchange is proposed at Interstate 90 and Jackson County 34 in an area that is expected to experience significant industrial and retail development, he said. The project is tentatively approved, but a re-scoping of the project involving the city, MnDOT and Federal Highway Administration may result in a lower project award.

An additional 400 to 600 people are expected to be employed in the area by 2020, Hamilton said.