Vehicle Training Center Expansion


Project Details

  • $7,000,000 to acquire land, pre-design, design, construct, furnish and equip the Phase II B of the MERIT Center in Lyon County, Marshall, MN.
  • The project includes acquiring 80 acres of land for Phase II B that will include a hand gun shooting range, driving course, classrooms and offices, skid pad, driving training simulators, and public driving education

Driving Regional Growth
Our vision is building a Vehicle Training Center as a core part of what is offered at the Minnesota Emergency Response and Industrial Training (M.E.R.I.T.) Center located in Marshall at 1001 W. Erie Road (West of Hwy. 59 on County Road 33).

  • Driver's training will be a state-of-the art driving course with training simulators.
  • The facility would train public safety personnel, commercial drivers, and others who seek to improve their driving skills like students/novice drivers and senior drivers.
  • Operator training will also be available for motorcylce, ATV, and snowmobile operation.
  • New and novice driver's can get practical hands on training in a safe environment.
  • Advanced motorcycle and AARP driver safety program (55 Alive) completion receives a 10% discount on insurance for three years.
  • This training brings people into Marshall from throughout Southwest Minnesota, Eastern South Dakota, and Northwest Iowa.

Vehicle Training Center Budget                               Vehicle Training Center Revenue                         

Land Acquisition         $750,000                                   State of Minnesota award in 2010                $1,000,000
Training Simulators     $525,000                                   .5% sales tax + 1.5% hospitality tax
Classroom/Offices    $1,750,000                                   (Financed by a .5% general sales tax in Marshall.
Skid Pad                 $1,000,000                                    In addition, a 1.5% Marshall sales tax on prepared
Driving Course          $2,975,000                                   food, beverage and lodging will be generated for
Total Cost               $7,000,000                                   operating expenses of the facilities to offset fees.)   $6,000,000
                                                                                  Total Financing                                       $7,000,000

Consumer Cost
Local sales taxes are very common in our region to fund these types of amenities. The consumer cost for this type of investment varies but here are a few items to compare: $0.05 for a $2.50 large coffee; $2.00 for a $100.00 hotel stay; $1.50 for a $300.00 mountain bike; $1.50 for a $75.00 dinner for two.

NOTE:  - farm machinery, clothes, and groceries are exempt
            - 40% of Marshall's sales tax revenue is from non-residents

The State of Minnesota must authorize all local sales taxes. Over 20-communities in Minnesota have active local sales taxes in place for specific projects such as the MERIT Vehicle Training Center and Southwest Amateur Sports Commission project. In 2010, the State authorized the City of Marshall to have a 1.5% sales tax on food, beverage and lodging. In 2011, the state legislature authorized a vote on the local options sales tax and both local taxes will be on the ballot in the general election in November 2012. If approved by the voters, construction would begin in Spring 2013 for both projects.


  • Driving accidents are the primary cause of deaths and a substantial amount of injuries for first responders.
  • Majority of existing training inadequate for high speed and realistic driving situations.
  • 2008 MN highest teen driving death rate in country.
  • Nationally over 60% of all teens will be involved in a crash within the first twelve months of getting her/her operator's license.
  • Combination of driving course, simulators and classroom training provides comprehensive training.

    pdf Driving Regional Growth Flyer

    For additional information about the Vehicle Training Center Expansion, visit