Walz signs farm and disaster aid; expansion of Highway 14

A man standing behind a podium.
Gov. Tim Walz announces a funding plan to help secure the necessary money to finish the last 12.5 miles of the U.S. Highway 14 project and turning it from a two-lane to a four-lane highway system on Feb. 28, 2020.
Hannah Yang | MPR News file

Gov. Tim Walz signed three bills important to rural Minnesota on Tuesday, in addition to a $200 million package to help the state's health care system combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the laws will offer $50 million in low-interest loans to Minnesota farmers via the Rural Finance Authority. A second replenishes the state’s Disaster Assistance Contingency Account with $30 million to aid communities recovering from natural disasters.

And the third allows the Minnesota Department of Transportation to apply for a federal loan to complete a long-awaited safety project, the expansion of U.S. Highway 14 across southern Minnesota.

The money will allow the state to convert the 12 miles from Nicollet and New Ulm to four lanes from the current two, providing four lanes all the way from New Ulm to Winona. The state will provide the other half of the funding for the $74 million project.

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