Details on study addressing transportation challenges in southeast Minnesota

CHATFIELD, Minn. (KTTC) – A study covering 11 southeast Minnesota counties to assess the transportation needs is weeks away from kicking off.

According to the study’s project manager, Joel Young, the research aims to develop a Transportation Management Organization (TMO)—an administrative body that helps find solutions with issues pertaining to transportation.

Young explained a TMO does not provide commuting services such as shuttles. However, it helps other organizations provide such services more effectively. The study will determine whether a TMO is appropriate for the region.

Young stated a group called Southeast Minnesota Together applied for a state grant, pitching the research; however, to accept the grant, a public entity, such as a city, is required.

Young explained the city of Chatfield agreed to be the fiscal agent of the study and received the $350,000 grant. Although the state does not take part in conducting the research, he stated it played a significant role in supporting the project.

“There’s about eight individuals between MnDOT District 6 and and the state office that are always kept informed every step we go,” Young said. “It’s not their project, but their supporting cooperation has been very evident and we’re grateful for that.”

Young shared the study is conducted considering people living and working in the 11-county region (Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Winona) who do not have a car.

”The number of people who don’t have a car or access to a car is much higher than most people would probably imagine. So, what do you do? You know, what do you do when, you know, fill in the blank, if you need to go anywhere, if you don’t have access to a car?”

When the project is done, Young stated the final report will be submitted to the city of Chatfield at a city council meeting. The study is expected to finish in June of 2025.