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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Transportation Department

Also known as:
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Active dates:1976 -

Mn/DOT's mission is to improve access to markets, jobs, goods and services and improve mobility by focusing on priority transportation improvements and investments that help Minnesotans travel safer, smarter and more efficiently.

When created in 1976, the Transportation Department was formed in order to provide a balanced transportation system, which system includes aeronautics, highways, motor carriers, ports, public transit, railroads and pipelines. The department was meant to be the principal agency of the state for development, implementation, administration. consolidation, and coordination of state transportation policies, plans and programs.


The Minnesota Department of Transportation was created in 1976 when the legislature merged the former departments of highways and aeronautics, as well as portions of the Department of Public Service and the transportation-related functions of the State Planning Agency (Laws 1976 Chap. 166).

The department develops and implements policies, plans, and programs for aeronautics, highways, motor carriers, ports, public transit, railroads, and pipelines. The department constructs, maintains, and regulates transportation facilities and services. It promotes the efficient use of energy resources for transportation purposes. The department is supervised and controlled by the commissioner of transportation, who is appointed by the governor for a term coinciding with the governor's. The commissioner may appear as a party on behalf of the public in any proceeding before any governmental agency regulating public services or rates relating to transportation. The commissioner also provides technical and financial assistance to the Metropolitan Council and regional development commissions in the regional transportation planning process.

Agency heads:

Commissioners serve four year terms, or at the pleasure of the governor.


  • James Harrington, 1976-1978
  • Dick Braun, 1979-1986
  • Leonard Levine, 1986-1991
  • John H. Riley, 1991
  • James Denn, 1991-1999
  • Elwyn Tinklenberg, 1999-2002
  • Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, 2003-2008
  • Robert J. McFarlin, 2008
  • Thomas K. Sorel, 2008-2012
  • Bernie Arseneau, 2012
  • Charlie Zelle, 2013 - January 6, 2019
  • Margaret Anderson Kelliher, January 7, 2019 - March 1, 2022
  • Nancy Daubenberger, March 2, 2022 -  
Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
State Senate confirms Commissioner Daubenberger. MnDOT Newsline, 2/15/2023.
Organizational chart. Minnesota Department of Transportation, December 2019.
News clippings and documents: Commissioner of Transportation. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1976-2018.
News clippings and documents: Transportation Department. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1976-2022.
Record last updated: 04/22/2024

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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