Reader Opinion: Greater Minnesota up to speed
One of the most rewarding parts of working at the Capitol is seeing ideas turn into law to help residents in our state. Since I was sworn-in, I've tried to provide high-speed broadband internet access for our rural areas. With the passage and signature of our supplemental budget bill, $35 million will flow to increasing broadband access. Couple this with the $10.5 million last year and this biennium invests a record $45 million for rural broadband.
I'm proud to lead the charge in the House for increased funding. It's an issue with bipartisan support, and something that affects numerous Minnesotans. In a time when lawmakers are accused of playing party politics, it's reassuring to see agreement on both sides of this issue.
The final $35 million was very close to the original proposal in the House. When combined with federal funds, Minnesota will see around $120 million invested toward broadband infrastructure expansion in 2017 alone.
If we want students, small businesses, and local governments to keep pace with the rest of the state, we need this investment to provide high-speed internet access. Many areas in greater Minnesota have limited to no broadband, leaving a significant technology gap with the Twin Cities and other regional hubs. Our historic investment will help bring countless residents into the 21st Century.
I'm proud of legislators in the House and Senate, and Governor Dayton, for recognizing this need in greater Minnesota. Our investment is one step closer to high-speed internet access for all Minnesotans.
Rep. Ron Kresha