Minnesota's Proposal for Urban Partnership Agreement: Case Study of Political and Institutional Issues in Congestion Pricing


Lee W. Munnich

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - bus/tram lane, policy - congestion, economics - pricing, place - urban, mode - subway/metro


Urban Partnership Agreements, Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (Minnesota), St. Paul (Minnesota), Saint Paul (Minnesota), Political factors, Political aspects, MnPASS, Minnesota, Minneapolis (Minnesota), Metropolitan areas, Institutional issues, HOT lanes, High occupancy toll lanes, Grant aid, Conurbations, Congestion pricing


In 2007 Minnesota was one of five finalists for an Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA) grant through a unique competition initiated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Minnesota was awarded a $133-million UPA grant by the USDOT to use congestion pricing in combination with other strategies to reduce congestion in a major transportation corridor. In 2005 Minnesota had previously adapted a high-occupancy vehicle lane to a high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane on I-394 west of downtown Minneapolis. These HOT lanes are known as MnPASS lanes. The UPA project will extend the MnPASS lanes to I-35W south of Minneapolis, the most heavily traveled stretch of urban Interstate in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area. The proposal includes the use of priced dynamic shoulder lanes to make more efficient use of existing capacity as well as improved transit, telecommuting, and technology support in the corridor and in downtown Minneapolis. The significant federal dollar commitment to funding UPA projects, particularly through transit funding, has played a key role in generating political and institutional dialogue and support, especially among local government elected officials and legislators in the I-35W corridor.Stakeholder workshops have been an important outreach and education mechanism to inform and engage elected officials and other key constituents during the UPA application process.