Minnesota Department of Transportation

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South Central Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership

Transportation Planning in MnDOT District 7

What is an Area Transportation Partnership (ATP)?

MnDOT created area transportation partnerships (ATPs) to emphasize greater public involvement in the preparation of transportation plans and programs. There are eight ATPs in Minnesota (one for each MnDOT District area).


The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) gave the states more flexibility in determining transportation solutions and required the development of a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).  The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) continued this flexibility.

MnDOT responded by decentralizing the program decision-making process to a more regional level (i.e. the districts).  The Area Transportation Partnerships were established by each district to facilitate broader input to the project selection process.  ATP-7 covers the 13 counties of Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Nobles, Rock, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan.

The 2012 MAP-21 federal transportation bill introduced a more performance based approach, especially in regards to the National Highway System (NHS). Performance of the NHS has remained priority in subsequent federal transportation bills of FAST Act (2015), and the Infrastructure and investment Jobs Act (IIJA), also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), passed in 2021. The IIJA extends federal funding for roads through 2026 and also includes a number of new programs, many of which are competitive.

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)


ATIP comments

Capital Highway Investment Proposal - State Highways (CHIP)

ATP-7 operating procedures and policies


Members of ATP-7 include:

  • 4 MnDOT District 7 representatives
  • 2 Regional Development Commission representatives
  • 4 County representatives
  • 3 City (more than 5,000 population) representatives
  • 2 Transit representatives
  • Mankato / North Mankato Area Planning Organization representative  

MnDOT is responsible for staff support of the ATP-7.


  • Shawn Schloesser, Greater Mankato Transit
  • Pat LaCourse, Brown County Transit, 507-359-6562

Mankato / North Mankato Area Planning Organization

  • Seth Greenwood, Nicollet County, 507-931-1760
  • MAPO Alternate


  • Jeff Johnson, City of Mankato, 507-387-8640
  • Joseph Stadheim, City of New Ulm, 507-233-2118


  • Dave Tiegs, Le Sueur County Engineer, 507-357-8200
  • Nick Klisch, Cottonwood County Engineer, 507-831-1389

Elected Officials

  • Darrell Pettis, City of Saint Peter City Council, 507-381-9815
  • Don Wachal, Jackson County Commissioner, 507-847-4182
  • Jack Kolars, Nicollet County Commissioner, 507-327-9987

Regional Development Commission (RDC)

  • Richard Peterson, Southwest RDC, 952-237-9813
  • Robert Goblirsch, Region Nine, 507-794-3650


  • Sam Parker, Planning Director, 507-508-3232
  • Greg Ous, District Engineer, 507-304-6101
  • Zak Tess, Assistant District Engineer, 507-317-8168
  • Lisa Bigham, State Aid Engineer, 507-304-6105


Each year, ATPs develop an Area Transportation Improvement Program (ATIP) to incorporate into the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). ATIPs, which span a minimum of four years, include all projects that seek federal aid highway, state trunk highway, and federal transit sources of funding.

To distribute the funds, a Statewide Performance Program allows Minnesota to meet performance targets on the National Highway System (PDF).

ATP-7 solicits projects for:

  • Surface Transportation Program (small urban and rural road and bridge; and transit capital)
  • Transportation Alternatives Program (within a statewide framework)

These projects are ranked by categories with set investment targets, and then integrated into the four-year ATIP. Project categories include:

  • National Highway System
  • State roads and bridges
  • Rural county roads and bridges
  • Small urban (more than 5,000 population) city streets and bridges
  • Transportation alternatives
  • Transit capital

Schedule of activities

  • November–January: Receive funding targets, solicit projects
  • February: Evaluate and prioritize projects
  • March: Draft ATIP presented at ATP meeting
  • April: Public comment and review period
  • May: Submit draft ATIP to MnDOT Central Office
  • June: Draft STIP review and comment
  • July: STIP approval by Commissioner

  • Tentative meeting schedule
  • Solicitation flowchart