Chart of the Day: MN-DOT Spending by Type

The 2018 “road construction projects” have been making the news this week, just in time for the last gasp of winter. There was a good comment on Facebook yesterday by a reader who broke down the spending at the state’s Department of Transportation by mode, e.g. over a billion dollars for car projects and a hundred million or so for everything else. (Or something like that…)

I thought I’d look up the actual numbers, and quick found some charts from MnDOT‘s one-pagers.

Let’s take a look…

That’s the next “biennium” MnDOT budget broken up by category. You can pick through the rest of the document online here.

For comparison’s sake, here’s their 2017 actual spending, which totaled $3,420,000,000, in a different format:

[Click here to see where revenues come from.]

The point is that the vast majority of state transportation spending is on roads for cars. A lot of money each year is spent this way. is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.

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12 Responses to Chart of the Day: MN-DOT Spending by Type

  1. jeffk April 5, 2018 at 11:46 am #

    Not just on roads for cars, but new roads for cars! We should be asking ourselves why a state with a relatively stable population is spending three times as much on new roads as maintenance.

    • Cobo R April 6, 2018 at 10:36 am #

      Right! and also take in to consideration that most of the population growth (in pure numerical terms) is in established metropolitan areas that already have roads (Twin cities & Rochester)

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke April 6, 2018 at 10:56 am #

      I forgot about that. I would like to see a “no new roads” policy in place, at least until we go twenty years without any bridges falling down

    • Brian April 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm #

      Where are all these new roads that MNDOT is building? The 35W project south of downtown adds no capacity other than restoring shoulders. The I35 project in Forest Lake is a rebuild.

  2. Monte Castleman April 8, 2018 at 9:36 am #

    Roads aren’t for cars. They’re for the humans that drive and ride in them. Although the state population is steady, most of the growth is in the metro. That we might have enough or too many roads in Koochiching County doesn’t mean we have enough in the metro, as anyone that drives the I-494 strip can attest to.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller April 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

      Do you think here’s an amount of 494 that wouldn’t back up during rush hour? If so. Is it worth it in the cost of space it would take?

    • Eric Ecklund April 8, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

      As someone who lives near 494 and drives on it occasionally I would rather we spend money on LRT along it than widening the freeway.

  3. Eric Ecklund April 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm #

    And I’m sure Republicans think cutting the Passenger Rail Office will be tremendous savings.

  4. Adam Froehlig
    Adam Froehlig April 9, 2018 at 12:13 pm #

    A couple things to keep in mind regarding Bill’s post. First, most of MnDOT’s non-Federal funding comes from sources that are Constitutionally dedicated to roads and highways, so naturally there will be a bias towards roads in the spending and funding allocations. Second, most transit funding in Minnesota is not administered by MnDOT but instead by the Metropolitan Council, the other relevant MPO-level organizations in the state (Duluth, Moorhead, East Grand Forks, St. Cloud, Rochester), and the Transit Agencies directly.

    Of note and comparison: Operating and Capital Expenditures for the Metro Area transit agencies in 2015 (most recent year I could find) was approximately $810 million. Very little of this money would have gone through MnDOT beforehand.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke April 9, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

      Doesn’t have to be that way though.

      • Adam Froehlig
        Adam Froehlig April 11, 2018 at 9:53 am #

        What do you mean by “doesn’t have to be that way”…?

        • Bill Lindeke
          Bill Lindeke April 11, 2018 at 10:45 am #

          We don’t need to dedicate funding to roads… it’s in the constitution, but that can be changed in theory.

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