Bill to rename portion of Highway 169 for Senator Tomassoni

Thursday the Senate Transportation Committee heard and passed SF 3881, a bill that renames portions of US Highway 169 from Marble to Mountain Iron the Senator David J. Tomassoni Memorial Cross Range Expressway. The bill is authored by Senator Rob Farnsworth (R-Hibbing) and will be introduced in the House by Representative Dave Lislegard (D-Aurora).

“Decades ago, a plan was identified to turn the two-lane section of Highway 169 from about Grand Rapids to Virginia into a four-lane highway. The idea was twofold: One, to create a safer corridor for people to travel across the Iron Range. Two, to better connect the west end with the east end of the Range,” Sen. Farnsworth said.

“For the last thirty years, Senator Tomassoni patiently worked to complete this dream about five to ten miles at a time. Most recently a section that runs through the small town of Taconite was completed. As of now, there are only about eight miles left before the project is completed. This progress would not have happened without the determination of Senator Tomassoni.

“The section we selected to rename the Senator David J. Tomassoni Memorial Cross Range Expressway is the area of that highway that the Senator represented in his last term before redistricting redrew the lines. I believe this is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to the people of the Iron Range, as demonstrated by his work on the cross range expressway.”

The funding for new signs will come from private resources. The designation begins at County Road 69 in the city of Marble and runs to Highway 7 in the city of Mountain Iron. Tomassoni served in the legislature for almost three decades and passed away from ALS in 2022.

The bill passed with unanimous consent from the committee and is headed to the Senate Floor where it awaits a vote.