Rural legislative interests including funding for broadband

MinnPost recently wrote about rural Minnesota’s high hopes for the 2019 legislative session

When groups representing rural Minnesota interests released their wish lists for the 2019 legislative session, some of the items looked familiar: a boost in funding for the Local Government Aid program, proposals to generate housing, more money for broadband expansion.

Yet while the issues might not be new, some of the players at the Capitol are, including Gov.-elect Tim Walz, the former U.S. congressman from Mankato whose campaign theme – “One Minnesota” – heartened some rural leaders who have long felt left behind by the Twin Cities metropolitan region.

The specifically outline some hopes for rural broadband…

Broadband expansion: Rural groups plan to continue their push for the expansion of high-speed internet service into underserved regions. Last year, the Legislature set aside $20 million for the Border to Border Broadband Development Grant Program, which provides grants to help providers pay for the infrastructure they need to expand their reach. The Greater Minnesota Partnership is asking for $50 million for the Border to Border program, with at least half of the money targeted to areas that lack access to 2026 state speed goals — 100 megabits down, 20 megabits up. Rural leaders argue that they have little chance of luring businesses, like this high-tech one in Gibbon, without solid internet service. “We hope this is something that gets more funding, given the jobs and the industries and the schools that rely on this,” said Irene Kao, the intergovernmental relations counsel at the League of Minnesota Cities.

This entry was posted in Funding, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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