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ENEWS: MN elections and the infrastructure bill

Date Published: 11/11/2021

Author: Erin Wilson

Key points from MN local elections 

Local elections took place last Tuesday. Below are some articles that detail key points from results across the state. 

  1. “Ballot questions on funding schools through local taxes passed in a majority of districts — even in districts that had rejected similar questions in the past”
  2. The Ag2School bond credit possibly helped win farmer votes for school bond levies in rural districts 
  3. Additional cuts may occur in districts that didn’t pass bonds or levies 
  4. Voters largely rejected candidates who oppose Critical Race Theory

MN’s carveout of the federal infrastructure bill 

Congress passed the federal infrastructure bill last week, which will bring billions of dollars to Minnesota for highways, transit, bridges, broadband, electric car charging stations, airport improvements and water treatment facilities, according to MPR. To be exact, the state is expecting $4.5 billion for highways, $302 million for bridge replacement and repairs, $818 million for public transportation, $100 million for broadband expansion, and $68 million for electric car charging stations. For more on what the federal infrastructure bill means for Minnesota, read these articles from Axios and MinnPost. 

Statewide broadband speed test initiative 

As Minnesota prepares to receive at least $100 million in federal funding for broadband over the next few years, thanks to the Build Back Better infrastructure bill recently passed by Congress, the MN Rural Broadband Coalition (MRBC) and the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools based in Mountain Iron will continue the partnership with GEO Partners, LLC. begun in August 2020 to collect and map speed test results real-time from homes, businesses and other locations across Minnesota. The information can help more communities have more precise data as they seek grant funding for broadband expansion. Please take the speed test (and share the link with other colleagues and neighbors) at: https://broadband.ramsmn.org/mn-rural-broadband-coallition-initiative

G & J’s president, Jane Leonard, serves on the MRBC executive board and has worked on various rural and urban telecom and broadband equity initiatives since 1991. Big thanks to RAMS for stepping up to host the speed test and mapping site going forward, and to both RAMS and MRBC for their current and long-term advocacy for broadband infrastructure development. 

Quote: 

“As this bill becomes law, we’re no longer just talking about infrastructure, we’re actually delivering the once-in-a-generation improvements that will make life better for millions of Minnesotans, create good-paying jobs and economic growth, while positioning the United States to succeed in the 21st Century.” —Senator Tina Smith on the newly passed infrastructure bill


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