Brainerd seeks US government funding

American venue Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, MN, intends to resurface most of its 3-mile road course with Taconite-based asphalt, and is seeking a federal grant. In return, the track would make itself available to state and national transportation agencies wishing to test the durable material for use on public highways

Brainerd seeks US government funding

US congressman Jim Oberstar was invited to the track, which currently hosts drag race meetings and a round of the AMA Superbike championship, to be shown the benefits of the Taconite asphalt and to discuss the possibility of funding. The venue would then allow the Minnesota Department of Transportation and other agencies to monitor and test it as part of an effort to increase the use of the special asphalt on public roads nationwide.

Taconite tailings, a coarse, jagged, rock-like material left behind by the Taconite mining process, is found in abundance on the Iron Range in north-east Minnesota. The asphalt uses Taconite tailings as a substrate instead of rock aggregate, which is more widely used in asphalt but does not produce as durable a product. Four billion tons of the material are currently available.

Oberstar is the ranking Democrat on the federal Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. He said that the idea of using this asphalt on public roads is gaining popularity because the product is durable, requires less patching and does not need to be replaced as often as conventional asphalt.

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