At a critical time during the legislative session, Gov. Dayton discussed his support for funding high-speed broadband this year.
(Published Apr 14, 2014)
Gov. Dayton expressed his support for additional funding this session to expand access to high-speed broadband across Minnesota. At a news conference on April 8, the governor said he was optimistic after meeting with Danna MacKenzie, executive director of the state’s new Office of Broadband Development, that a legislative proposal for new broadband funding could be passed and signed into law this session.
“I am willing to agree to [new broadband] funding this year. The amount really needs to be in the context of the overall budget,” Gov. Dayton said in response to a question about whether he would support additional funding for broadband infrastructure this session. “I have stressed that we need to start modestly, and prove the effectiveness of [these investments]. The goal of having border-to-border cell phone and high-speed Internet coverage is something I said during the campaign. I have believed all along it is important to do.”
Broadband legislation this year
The House approved the establishment of the Broadband Development Grant Program through the Department of Employment and Economic Development in its supplemental budget bill (HF 3172) on April 3. It includes $25 million for the program, as well as $450,000 for continued broadband mapping services in the state. The bill will now go to conference committee.
The Senate has not appropriated funds for broadband development in its budget bill.
Your help is needed
City officials are strongly encouraged to contact the governor’s office, senators, and representatives to support broadband infrastructure funding this year. Your feedback and expressed support to legislators on the importance of statewide broadband infrastructure for developing local and state economies is encouraged and an integral part of the discussion on this issue. When communicating with your legislators, share your city’s broadband needs and how your community could benefit from statewide broadband.
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Contact Laura Ziegler
(651) 281-1267 or (800) 925-1122