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Greater Minnesota legislative wish-list includes broadband and job training

With a new Republican majority in the state House, the Greater Minnesota Partnership sees more emphasis on parts of the state outside the metro.

The new Republican majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives is interested in greater Minnesota issues, so many hope to see more emphasis at the state Capitol on such things as broadband and job creation.

Republicans gained 11 seats in the House to take control; 10 of those were from outside the metro area.

The question is: will that translate into more state funding for high-speed broadband, job training programs, workforce housing and transportation upgrades?

Gary Evans, president of the Greater Minnesota Partnership, told the Rochester Post Bulletin:

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“Greater Minnesota is where the [political] shift occurred, and I also think that that shift is somewhat directly proportional to a dissatisfaction in Greater Minnesota relative to the amount of money spent outside the metro area as opposed to inside it.”

Evans’ group, made up of state-wide businesses, chambers of commerce, cities and nonprofits wants the Legislature to expand high-speed broadband access, to the tune of $200 million.

Employer-driven job training is also on the list, as is workforce housing and more money for roads and bridges around the state.

Among the transportation pushes will be more funding for upgrades to Hwy. 14 in southern Minnesota, Amanda Duerr, spokeswoman for the U.S. 14 Highway Partnership, told the paper. Voters expect such improvements from legislators, she said.

“I think there is going to be a lot of pressure and expectance from their constituents that they are going to deliver and that there is going to be an investment in transportation,” she said.