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Minnesota Governor Addresses Infrastructure Problems With New Task Force

The day after announcing a $775 million jobs plan for Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton announced plans to establish the Commissioner’s Transportation Finance Advisory Group, a task force that will be responsible for recommending new ways to finance a better state infrastructure.

The advisory group, which will be headed by Minnesota’s Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel, will:

-Identify investment opportunities to support the state’s economy during the next 20 years

-Identify and analyze the potential of various revenue sources and non-traditional approaches to transportation financing, as well as opportunities for public-private partnerships

-Help develop a strategic marketing plan to obtain public support for the investment plan and any additional steps needed to obtain the funding.

The group will prepare a written report for the governor and the legislature by Dec. 1, 2012, in time for ideas to be considered in the 2013 legislative session.

“I have been reminded of how essential transportation infrastructure is to business success in Minnesota,” Dayton said. “Workers need to be able to get to and from work, and businesses need to be able to get goods to and from their markets. We must either improve our transportation systems or else suffer the consequences of their decline.

“I have asked Commissioner Sorel to gather the best and the brightest minds together to help us find new, innovative ways to finance improving our transportation systems.”

In addition to Sorel, the task force will include Susan Haigh, metropolitan council chair and Mark Phillips, department of employment and economic development commissioner, along with an economist and representatives of the business and investment communities, unions and county government.

This focus on infrastructure is just one of the concentrations of Gov. Dayton’s recently announced jobs plan, which includes proposals designed to provide incentives for businesses to hire out-of-work Minnesotans, invest in infrastructure and train workers for the jobs of the future.

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