On Friday, Governor Dayton visited the Mall of America in Bloomington to celebrate the completion of the Lindau Lane road improvement project. Thanks to $15.4 million in funding from the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature, the Mall of America’s more than 40 million visitors will notice some improvements starting this fall.
Governor Dayton joined local leaders as the new Lindau Lane Corridor opened to traffic, reducing congestion for those heading to the Mall of America. The new corridor project also is expected to foster economic development in Bloomington and provide safer access to parking for the largest shopping mall in the United States.
“This project will greatly improve the flow of traffic for cars and pedestrians entering the Mall,” said Governor Dayton. “It will improve safety, support commerce, and help eliminate the backlog of traffic that we have seen pile up for years at this intersection.”
Minnesota Cities Stand Out on National List of Best Places To Do Business
Minnesota received more good economic news yesterday. Three Minnesota cities ranked among the top 25 smaller cities in the country to do business and have a career. Mankato ranked third on the national list, followed by Rochester (23rd) and St. Cloud (24th).
The analysis, conducted by Forbes Magazine, considered U.S. cities with populations of less than 250,000. Forbes weighed several factors in making its rankings, including:
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad
We are governors from neighboring states and different political parties. We don't agree on everything, but we stand united in our belief that our nation needs a robust Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and together in our opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to weaken the RFS.
Since Congress enacted the RFS in 2005 by huge bipartisan margins, it has provided the secure policy foundation that rural America needs to continue investments in renewable fuels. Those investments yield excellent returns. They diversify our nation's energy portfolio, clean the air, grow opportunities for businesses, create good paying jobs in rural America, add value to farm products, and give consumers lower-cost choices at the pump.
Big Oil dislikes renewable fuels, and has used its clout in Washington D.C. and at state capitals to thwart their progress. When Minnesota became the first state to require all gasoline sold to contain at least 10 percent ethanol (E10), Big Oil predicted fearsome disasters. They warned that ethanol would clog cars' carburetors and explode their engines, disrupt supply lines causing gasoline shortages, and increase the price at the pump for consumers. None of that happened.
The petroleum industry also claimed that the RFS causes higher fuel prices. In fact, the opposite has proven true. On February 4, 2014, regular gasoline in Cresco, Iowa, a town about 15 minutes from the Iowa-Minnesota border, was selling for $3.44 per gallon. E10 was selling at $3.13 per gallon. E85 fuel, which is 85 percent ethanol, was selling for $2.60 per gallon at the same station - 84 cents per gallon cheaper than regular gasoline.
A recent study at Iowa State University found that, "Feasible increases in the ethanol mandate in 2014 will cause a small decline in the price of E10. Our results should reassure those in Congress and the Administration who are worried that following the RFS commitment to expanding the use of renewable fuels will result in sharply higher fuel prices for consumers."
The Environmental Protection Agency previously estimated that by 2022, renewable fuels would replace 13.6 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel consumption and save motorists nearly $12 billion each year. The EPA also predicted that this displacement of gasoline and diesel would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 138 million metric tons, equivalent to removing 27 million vehicles from our nation's highways. Ethanol can increase competition and save consumers money, provide real choice at the pump, and drive innovations and efficiencies that are good for the economy.
Photo content: Flickr User Doug Kerr; US Highway 10 – Minnesota
Minnesotans depend on their roads, bridges, and highways every day. Minnesota businesses also require access to good roads as they move goods and services to market. Recently, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced that ten highway construction projects will receive funding through the state’s new $300 million Corridors of Commerce program. These new projects will reduce travel times and improve safety for Minnesota citizens and help businesses transport their products more efficiently.
The new license plate unveiled at the Pheasant Opener.
On Friday Governor Mark Dayton announced that a new ring-necked pheasant critical habitat license plate will be available later this fall. Governor Dayton made the announcement during the Governor’s Banquet at the Pheasant Hunting Opener, hosted by the City of Madelia.
The first critical habitat plate was created in 1995 as a way for Minnesota citizens to voluntarily contribute to conservation and show that commitment with a special outdoor-themed vehicle license plate. More than 100,000 Minnesota vehicles have critical habitat license plates, with the 2002 loon plate being the most popular. These plates generate about $3.5 million per year. They have generated more than $44 million for habitat conservation since the program began.
Motorists who have purchased habitat plates have helped wildlife in every corner of the state. They have funded Wildlife Management Area acquisitions, trout stream easements and helped support loons, eagles, rare plants and many other species. The new pheasant plate will help us preserve some of our rapidly disappearing grasslands – which are critical to the future of pheasants.