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On the right track

Over the last two years, the Legislature and Gov. Dayton accomplished a great deal to move Minnesota forward. Our work isn’t done, but we’re on the right track.

In a 21st  century economy broadband Internet is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Yet throughout much of Greater Minnesota, access to high-speed broadband Internet isn’t available.

This year, we passed $20 million in grants to expand broadband in Greater Minnesota. CTC is working with other partners to put together a strong application for grant dollars. CTC, or any other provider, simply can’t make a financial investment work to deploy Internet services to certain areas without some help from grant funds.

Like in many other areas, government and the private sector must partner together to make progress.

The previous Republican majority cut higher education funding to levels not seen since 2000, driving up tuition and debt. We increased funding, but instead of handing them a blank check, we froze tuition for two years. By 2018, 70 percent of jobs in Minnesota will require a post-secondary education. To succeed as a state, we have to lower college costs so everyone who works hard has the opportunity to go to college, get a great education, and get a job that can support them and their family.

Finally, we invested $87 million in roads and bridges in the bonding bill, another $331 million for the Corridors of Commerce program, funding to repair potholes throughout the state, and $1.7 billion over the biennium for state road construction. Despite this progress, Minnesota’s transportation needs require us to continue working to find a comprehensive solution in the future.