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County officials join Highway 212 group at nation’s capitol

McLeod County commissioners Joe Nagel and Doug Krueger feel that the Highway 212 corridor is important enough that they spent two days last week trying to convince federal officials in Washington, D.C., that it’s deserving of federal grant money.
The commissioners, along with McLeod County Highway Engineer John Brunkhorst, were among a delegation of about 50 people who participated in a transportation “fly-in” at the national Capitol to talk about Highway 212.
In particular, the group is trying to sway the federal department of transportation into awarding a $12 million grant to the Highway 212 corridor to complete a four-lane “gap” between Carver and Cologne. The $46 million project already has $15 million committed from the Minnesota Highway Freight Program, $13 million from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and $6 million from Carver County, leaving about $12 million to be funded.
The trio of McLeod County representatives, and their other Highway 212 supporters, met with several U.S. representatives and senators, as well as department of transportation officials.
“We went right into a general session on Tuesday, and then started meeting with people, primarily first-string staffers,” said Krueger.
Krueger said that developing the Highway 212 corridor is not only important for east-west traffic between the metro area and the western part of the state — and further — but to major cities in Greater Minnesota.
Nagel noted that Hutchinson is one of those major cities that does not have a four-lane highway to move its goods. The hope is that with an improved U.S. Highway 212, State Highway 22 between Hutchinson and Glencoe can be approved.
The people in Washington, Nagel said, “told us how important it was that we were there in person” to talk about the need.
Nagel said that the Highway 212 group wasn’t the only one from Minnesota promoting a specific project, but it was the biggest and most active.
“I walked out of there feeling incredibly encouraged,” said Nagel. “But I have to remind myself that we weren’t the only ones bucking for money.”
For more about the fly-in, see the May 30 print edition of The Chronicle.