A state Senate panel heard a presentation Wednesday on a topic with which Central Minnesota commuters have become all too familiar: recurring congestion on Interstate 94 between St. Cloud and the northwest Twin Cities suburbs.
Officials with the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization and the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce made their pitches to the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee. The planning organization’s executive director, Scott Mareck, said lake traffic causes I-94 congestion to worsen on summer weekends.
Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, is sponsoring a bill that would try to address the issue. Kiffmeyer’s bill would provide $100 million to expand I-94 from Rogers, where the interstate currently transitions from six to four lanes, to Monticello.
State transportation officials have acknowledged congestion issues on I-94 from Maple Grove to St. Cloud. But they say congestion on that stretch of I-94 isn’t as severe as in some other parts of the metro area. They also say the overall lack of funding for many large, proposed road expansions makes it unlikely the I-94 expansion will move ahead soon.