Three new FirstNet Cell sites launch in MN: Deer River, Ely and Gary

AT&T reports on three new FirstNet Cell site. Here’s the info on each, starting with Deer River

First responders in Northern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located south of Deer River on Great River Road near Skunk Lake and the Mississippi River.

This new site will provide coverage when traveling along Great River Road (County 65 NE) and Minnesota State Highway 6 west of Grand Rapids in Itasca County. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

In 2021, we added a new site in Togo near George Washington State Forest in Itasca County. In addition, AT&T has added new cell towers in Itasca County to enhance mobile broadband coverage and help give residents, visitors and first responders faster, more reliable wireless service. These sites are south of Bigfork near Maple Lake and north of Bovey by Lower Balsam Lake.

Ely

First responders in Northern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located on the Echo Trail just north of Ely near Twin Lakes and Everett Lake.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along the Echo Trail in the remote wilderness of northeastern Minnesota. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

This is the third FirstNet site in St. Louis County and the second on the Echo Trail. In 2021, we added a new site on the Echo Trail northwest of Ely near Meander Lake and Lake Jeanette State Forest – one of the first primarily powered by solar in the Midwest region. This site along the Echo Trail provided coverage to first responders who battled the Bezhik wildfire in May of 2021 just a few miles south of the tower. We also added a new site in 2021 in the Kabetogama State Forest near Kjostad Lake and west of Buyck.

Gary

First responders in northwestern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located near Gary and just west of the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota’s Red River Valley region.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along State Highway 200 and State Highway 32 in Norman County. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

US House Lawmakers Urge Biden Administration to Co-Locate Broadband and EV Charging Infrastructure

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society report..

Reps Anna G Eshoo (D-CA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) led a letter to Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information at the National Telecommunications and Information (NTIA) Alan Davidson, urging them to use funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to build out broadband and electric vehicle charging infrastructure simultaneously.

The letter beings

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) makes transformative investments in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and will help meet the Administration’s critical goal of 500,000 chargers by 2030 to ensure that EVs are accessible to all Americans. As federal agencies, states, and relevant stakeholders develop plans for a robust electric vehicle (EV) charging network across the country, we urge you to consider the connectivity requirements for EV supply equipment (EVSE) as well as the benefits of co-locating EVSE with infrastructure that can also be utilized to deploy broadband.

EV needs broadband and unserved areas are unable to adopt EV…

EV charging access has long been lacking in underserved communities. In 2019, the Department of Energy (DOE) found that 80 percent of EV owners charge in their own homes. Although home chargers are the most used type of chargers in EV adoption, apartment residents are less
likely to have access to at-home chargers. This disparity poses a particular challenge to lower income households and communities of color, who are more likely to live in multi-unit housing.
Similar challenges exist in rural areas, where limited electric distribution exacerbates range anxiety, the concern that vehicles will not be able to travel the distance needed. IIJA addresses these equity concerns by including $2.5 billion to support, among other things, rural charging
and increase EV charging access in disadvantaged communities. Additionally, IIJA directs $5 billion to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, resulting in $7.5 billion to build a national electric vehicle charging network.

Gaining access to EV, is one more reason to invest in broadband for all…

Digital equity disparities exist in areas where access to broadband is non-existent or unaffordable and disproportionately affects rural areas and communities of color. A Pew Research Center report showed that 34 percent of Black households and 39 percent of Latino households do not have wired broadband connection. In addition to this, the Census Bureau found that 33 percent of
Native Americans lack a broadband subscription, and 47 percent of those living on tribal lands lack broadband availability altogether. The IIJA acknowledged these disparities and provided $65 billion for broadband expansion, including grants for internet service expansion in unserved and underserved areas.
In light of the national electric vehicle charging network’s connectivity requirements, the persistent digital divide, and EV charging infrastructure disparities across the nation, we encourage you to coordinate IIJA broadband and EV charging infrastructure efforts to encourage co-location of EVSE with telecommunications infrastructure when and where appropriate. The IIJA also included strong prevailing wage protections and preferences to ensure federal funding supports high-skilled, well-paying jobs. We urge you to include and build upon these bedrock protections during deployment to maximize meaningful opportunities for American workers.
This approach can address multiple national priorities simultaneously and avoid duplicative efforts, maximizing IIJA’s wide-reaching equity mission.

FirstNet, Built with AT&T is Connecting More First Responders Across Minnesota

A recap of sorts from AT&T about FirstNet…

What’s the news? AT&T* is America’s public safety communications partner. In the nearly 5 years since we were selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) to build and operate FirstNet®, we have moved quickly to bring more coverage, boost capacity and drive new capabilities for Minnesota first responders and the communities they serve – rural, urban and tribal.

Today, we cover nearly all of the state with FirstNet, Built with AT&T – helping to connect public safety agencies and organizations in more than 190 communities across Minnesota. That’s why we’re focused on increasing network capacity for Minnesota public safety by deploying Band 14 spectrum – nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the federal government specifically for FirstNet. We’ve rolled out Band 14 on more than 800 sites across Minnesota to provide public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it. Areas currently benefitting from Band 14 include Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud, Goodhue, Mankato, Baudette, Brainerd, Baxter, Chippewa County, the Iron Range and Angle Inlet.

And more Minnesota first responders are gaining access to a one-of-a-kind 5G experience on FirstNet. 5G connectivity on FirstNet is now available in Minneapolis. Public safety also has access to 5G+ (mmWave) spectrum in Minneapolis, including at the Target Center and U.S. Bank Stadium. And we’re continuing to roll out additional 5G connectivity for FirstNet in more communities nationwide.

But we aren’t stopping there. The FCC estimates that over 10,000 lives could be saved each year if public safety were able to reach callers just 1 minute faster. And since 80% of wireless calls take place indoors, in-building dedicated public safety connectivity is essential to public safety operations and overall safety. That’s why we are collaborating with Safer Building Coalition, the nation’s leading industry advocacy group focused on advancing policies, ideas, and technologies that ensure effective in-building communications capabilities for public safety personnel and the people they serve.

Why is this important? No connection is more important than one that could help save a life. Today, FirstNet is solving for common and long-standing communications challenges that first responders face – things like interoperability, network congestion and commercial network providers slowing public safety’s data connection. It’s giving them superior coverage for day-to-day response and life-saving missions. While commercial wireless offerings remain available to public safety, FirstNet continues to grow because it offers distinct advantages from those commercial offerings. FirstNet comes with unique features, functionality and dedicated spectrum when needed for the public safety community. That’s why public safety fought for their own, separate, dedicated platform, championing the vision that led to the creation of FirstNet.

How does this help bridge the digital divide? The FirstNet network expansion is one way we are helping ensure all of public safety – and the communities they serve – have access to critical connectivity to help meet the urgent challenges of today and tomorrow. We already cover more than 99% of the U.S. population today, but FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means every first responder – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural.

Broadband fuels house-to-house public security cameras

GCN reports

To help police solve crimes and give homeowners an added sense of security, an Illinois county will devote $40,000 of its American Rescue Plan funds to purchasing doorbell cameras for the community.

Winnebago County will become the latest district to turn to Amazon’s Ring doorbell cameras to “get out in front of crime, and prevent it … instead of always just following it up,” Public Safety Chairman Burt Gerl told WIFR News. Eventually, the county plans to target areas with higher crime rates, he said.

The county also expects to make use of Ring’s public safety app, Neighbors. Through the app, residents can connect with local law enforcement to share real-time information about suspicious activity.

I have a lot of reactions to this initiative. With my Blandin on Broadband hat on, this is a great way to help keep a community safe for neighborhoods that can afford the hardware and have reliable, sufficient broadband. We learned the power of video with the murder of George Floyd. I know in my neighborhood people post footage of happening on their doorsteps from stolen packages to vandalism. It does help get convictions and packages returned.

But I do have some concerns with privacy and who has access to videos when, why and how. Sounds like I’m not alone…

Law enforcement agencies can see videos posted to the Neighbors app or directly request video from residents in the area of an active investigation. Police must reference a relevant case in the request, each request must specify a limited time frame and area and residents can decide how much information they are willing to share. Authorities are not given direct access to residents’ devices, videos, location or any personally identifiable information.

Still, Amazon’s partnerships with law enforcement agencies, especially in relation to community surveillance, have drawn concerns from some civil liberties advocates.

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches in Hokah to Support First Responders (Houston County MN)

From AT&T...

What’s the news? First responders in the Hokah area are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site just outside Hokah in Houston County.

This FirstNet site will serve those traveling along County Road 18 between Hokah and Brownsville in the Mississippi River Valley of southeastern Minnesota. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

Why is this important? We look at FirstNet as the most important wireless network in the country because it’s serving our first responders. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides dedicated mobile broadband. To ensure AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and local public safety officials. This helps ensure Minnesota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency.

FirstNet sites already launched in communities across Minnesota including Angle Inlet, Bagley, Baudette, Blackduck, Cloquet, northwest of Ely (Echo Trail), Faribault, Isabella, Peterson, Finlayson, Graceville, Grand Marais (Gunflint Trail), Grygla, Hovland, Kellogg, Lewiston, Orr (Kjostad Lake), Tofte (Lichen Lake), Togo and Williams.

What are the benefits to first responders? Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Minnesota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on the FirstNet network will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. Band 14 has been added on more than 700 existing sites across Minnesota, including markets such as the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, Mankato, the Iron Range, St. Cloud and the Brainerd/Baxter area.

How does this help Minnesota residents? This new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T commercial spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when capacity is available.

Mobile apps help community with annual homeless count

I write about broadband and I volunteer at various endeavors to support people experiencing homelessness. So I was eager to learn more about an app that would help with annual HUD count related to homelessness. GNC reports

Every year, on a single night in January, communities across the country conduct an annual count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness.

To make it easier to collect data during these point in time (PIT) counts, cities are using mobile apps to help volunteers and community coordinators collect and manage the data.

Massachusetts-based Simtech Solutions’ Counting Us application, due to be used in at least 50 regions this year, lets outreach teams input detailed information in real time so coordinators can validate data as it comes in. A second app, Show The Way, allows social workers to input more detailed data about individuals’ habits and experiences with location and demographic data, images and other indicators of vulnerability. The company’s technology has even helped some departments track COVID-19 in their homeless populations.

Because the PIT homeless count provides a snapshot of a community’s homeless population, and not a comprehensive survey, the data may not be complete.

In Minnesota, there are two counts per year. (COVID has forced some changes.) Last time I helped was January 2020; I administered surveys with people experiencing homelessness. (The picture is from that count; I brought a friend.)  It takes about 15 minutes to ask a series of sometimes intrusive questions. The folks I survey get paid (maybe $5-10). The January survey count is cold and the surveys are done at night. I usually get lucky with an semi-indoor gig but still my cold handwriting on paper for each person can’t be easy to decipher. And sometimes people are unable to give you exact answers – and to be fair sometimes at 4am, they lose a little interest. So it was interesting to hear how the app helps fill in some gaps and make follow up easier…

In the past, Houston would use a sample of the its PIT count to extrapolate demographic information about the homeless population, said Ana Rausch, vice president of program operations for the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston. “Now, we are asking the questions in person,” she said.

Since the interviews are captured with geolocation data, Rausch said that her department has also been able to find concentrations of encampments and deduce shifts in the unsheltered population based on new developments and construction.

“After the count, we have sent teams to those hotspots where people are densely packed together to engage them about housing, which is the eventual goal,” Rausch said. So, even if someone does not answer part of the survey, the volunteer is able to make a determination for a future follow up,” she said.

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches in Angle Inlet (Lake of the Woods County MN)

Here’s the latest from AT&T…

What’s the news? First responders in the Northwest Angle are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site in Angle Inlet – the northernmost point of the contiguous 48 states.

This FirstNet site will serve those traveling along Inlet Road NW and Pine Creek Drive NW in Angle Inlet – a community in Lake of the Woods County – as well as those fishing or recreating on the nearby lake. This site will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

Angle Inlet is part of the Northwest Angle of Minnesota, the only place in the continental United States north of the 49th parallel. The community is the northernmost census-designated place in the contiguous 48 states. The Northwest Angle cannot be reached from the rest of the United States without either going through Canada or crossing water – specifically Lake of the Woods.

New FirstNet Cell Sites Launch along Gunflint Trail and near Lichen Lake (Cook County MN)

Here’s the latest from AT&T. I have a few very similar posts for this afternoon but for archival reasons, I’ll post the info on each community separately…

New Infrastructure Will Help Advance Public Safety, Improve Connectivity for Area Residents and Visitors

What’s the news? First responders in northern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added two new, purpose-built cell sites – one located along the Gunflint Trail near Gunflint Lake and Magnetic Lake and another located near Lichen Lake in the Superior National Forest.

These FirstNet sites will serve those traveling in the remote wilderness of northern Minnesota. One site will provide coverage when traveling along the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais. The second will provide coverage when traveling along State Highway 165 near Lichen Lake north of Tofte. The sites will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches in Togo (Itasca County MN)

Here’s the latest from AT&T. I have a few very similar posts for this afternoon but for archival reasons, I’ll post the info on each community separately…

New Infrastructure Will Help Advance Public Safety, Improve Connectivity for Area Residents and Visitors

What’s the news? First responders in northern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located in Togo near George Washington State Forest in Itasca County.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along State Highways 1 and 65 in the remote community of Togo. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches South of Faribault (Rice County MN)

Here’s the latest from AT&T. I have a few very similar posts for this afternoon but for archival reasons, I’ll post the info on each community separately…

New Infrastructure Will Help Advance Public Safety, Improve Connectivity for Area Residents and Visitors

What’s the news? First responders in southern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located just south of Faribault in Rice County.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along 260th Street West, Dalton Avenue and Canby Avenue just south of Faribault between Deerfield and Medford in southern Minnesota. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches in Fillmore County to Support First Responders in Southeastern Minnesota

Good news in Fillmore County from AT&T

What’s the news? First responders in southeastern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located in Fillmore County.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along State Highway 43 and Alpine Drive near Yucatan between Peterson and Spring Grove. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

Why is this important? We look at FirstNet as the most important wireless network in the country because it’s serving our first responders. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides dedicated mobile broadband. To ensure AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. This helps ensure Minnesota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. Other FirstNet sites already launched in Minnesota include Bagley, Baudette, Blackduck, Cloquet, Echo Trail (northwest of Ely), Finlayson, Graceville, Grygla, Hovland, Isabella, Kellogg (Hwy 42), Kjostad Lake, Lewiston and Williams.

What are the benefits to first responders? Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Minnesota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on the FirstNet network will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. Band 14 has been added on more than 600 existing sites across Minnesota, including markets such as the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, the Iron Range, St. Cloud and the Brainerd/Baxter area.

How does this help Minnesota residents? This new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when capacity is available.

It’s time for the MN Broadband Model to bring broadband to communities without ability to ask

The Duluth News Tribune posts a letter to the editor from David Beard, who teaches writing and communication at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He outlines some projects that have done a great job bringing broadband to some parts of the northland but the letter is a reminder that we are not all there and until we are, we need to keep working…

Imagine if you had to drive to your local library to virtually visit with a therapist about your increasing anxiety during the pandemic. Or imagine if you had to drive to the community center to ask your doctor to take a look at the mole that appeared on your forearm. It sounds inconvenient, invasive, and awkward.

And yet, for as long as one in 10 Minnesotans lacks access to broadband internet, we are telling our (mostly rural) neighbors that we don’t care how inconvenient, invasive, and awkward it can be for them to see their doctor.

Broadband internet access is a health care equity issue, and we need to do more.

EVENT Sep 18: National Day of Civic Hacking

An invitation from the Code for America Team…

Whether you’ve attended one Code for America Brigade meetup, or you’re a regular attendee, we wanted to make sure you knew about our upcoming National Day of Civic Hacking event on September 18. This is an opportunity to use your time and skills to help transform our 911 emergency system. Right now, our 911 system often deploys an armed law enforcement response as a one-size-fits-all solution regardless of the caller’s needs.

But what if our country’s emergency response system were “people-first”? There is a growing movement to reimagine this system, starting by understanding its levers for change. That’s where the Code for America community comes in.

Register now to join National Day of Civic Hacking 2021. On Saturday, September 18, join fellow civic leaders, public servants, designers, coders, data scientists, and activists for our 9th annual National Day of Civic Hacking—a day of action to partner with local communities and tackle some of our toughest challenges.

This year our theme is “Reimagining 911.” We’ve partnered with Transform 911 to understand, evaluate, and reimagine a human-centered approach to the emergency response system.

This virtual event kicks off with a panel at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET followed by working time, an optional lunch-and-learn, and closing remarks. Participants have the option to work independently or with their local Brigade, community group, or assigned volunteer group.

During working time, our coordinated action teams will participate in the following actions:

– Open Data: Research & Scorecard

– Data Analysis

– Prototyping: Case Studies & exploring “How Might We” Statements

We welcome people of all skill levels as well as new and returning volunteers alike. While “hacking” is in the name, you don’t need to know how to code to participate. There will be actions available to leverage different skills, technical and nontechnical. Check out our FAQs to learn more about National Day of Civic Hacking.

See you on the 18th,

The Code for America Team

To reply to this message, please contact brigade-info@codeforamerica.org

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches Near Baudette to Support First Responders in Northern Minnesota

Latest news on FirstNet from AT&T

Northern Minnesota’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located just south of Baudette near the North Branch Rapid River in Lake of the Woods County.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along County Highway 84 and County Highway 1 near the Town of Carp in northern Minnesota. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

Why is this important? We look at FirstNet as the most important wireless network in the country because it’s serving our first responders. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides dedicated mobile broadband. To ensure AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. This helps ensure Minnesota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. Other FirstNet sites already launched in Minnesota include Bagley, Blackduck, Cloquet, Echo Trail (northwest of Ely), Finlayson, Graceville, Grygla, Hovland, Isabella, Kellogg (Hwy 42), Kjostad Lake, Lewiston and Williams.

What are the benefits to first responders? Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Minnesota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on the FirstNet network will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. Band 14 has been added on more than 600 existing sites across Minnesota, including markets such as the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, the Iron Range, St. Cloud and the Brainerd/Baxter area.

How does this help Minnesota residents? This new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when capacity is available.

Minnesota can fund broadband AND electric vehicles

Twin Cities Business reports…

With the recent Senate passage of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, states are looking for what level of federal funding they might expect for their own projects. The Biden Administration released preliminary numbers last week, giving Minnesota a glimpse at projects it might be able to complete after final passage of the infrastructure package. Some big-ticket items were $4.5 billion for highways, $302 million for bridge repairs and $802 million to improve public transportation across the state.

In addition to those funds, the White House said Minnesota can expect to receive $68 million over the span of five years to “support the expansion of an [electric vehicle] charging network in the state.”

This is a relatively small investment compared to the rest of the cash Minnesota could receive, but experts say this would be a huge opportunity to get more Minnesotans to drive EVs and reduce their carbon footprint.

An interesting note from the article was Senator Dahms suggesting that broadband funding might be used to fund EVs…

[State Sen. Gary] Dahms pointed to broadband — another big infrastructure bill spending area — as an example of a state priority taking years to achieve and lagging behind in rural areas.

“We put a lot of money into broadband, I’ve been working on broadband for 11 years,” Dahms said. “In Minnesota, we still have areas that do not have broadband. But we spent a lot of money, we have spent a lot of money in the metro area and we have a lot of good reception of broadband there. Shift that to electric cars.”