Minnesota’s projected budget surplus of $17.6 billion is a windfall that this state may never see again, the confluence of a global pandemic that resulted in massive federal funding, pent-up demand from nearly two years of mostly sheltering in place, and a resurgence of the economy as things move toward normal.
They also recognize that broadband could be a good investment…
But there is also the chance to do more, to dream a little bigger. Whether that involves climate change and better electric vehicle networks; a broadband network laid from one corner of this state to the other, or innovative public transportation projects is too early to say. But we would encourage lawmakers to engage in some serious brainstorming.
Charlie Weaver, head of the Minnesota Business Partnership, a former legislator and former state commissioner, told an editorial writer that “whether it’s education or infrastructure or energy, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let’s not screw it up. Let’s be bold.”
Just last week I noted that while lots of federal funding will be coming to the state soon, we still needed state support…
It’s worth noting that now is a good time to be prepared. Tremendous amounts of money will be coming into the State for broadband funding. The estimate is $650 million. But the estimated budget to connect everyone in Minnesota is $1.3 billion. We will continue to need state and federal support ro reach everyone.
We need State investment because that can be disbursed more quickly and because we can set higher expectations on how that money is spent. We know our own needs.