Governor Dayton announces Corridors of Commerce transportation projects
Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the acceleration of 13 more transportation projects in addition to the 14 prior to date. In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested in the Corridors of Commerce initiative, which will be funding twelve of these plans. The final project – the expansion of Highway 371 to four lanes from Nisswa to Jenkins – was funded in part by $45 million in cost savings at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
“These projects will reduce travel times, improve safety for Minnesota citizens, and help our businesses transport their products more efficiently,” said Governor Dayton, who working with the Legislature in 2013 and 2014 invested over $331 million in the new Corridors of Commerce initiative. “The number of projects from all over our state, which sought financing from this program, underscores the acute need for more transportation funding.”
State savings through efficiencies will accelerate the Highway 371 expansion project by two years, which means that MnDOT will begin construction in 2016, two years earlier than planned. This was made possible with funding from new investments in the Corridors of Commerce initiative, as well as the cost savings. Altogether, 27 transportation projects have received Corridors of Commerce funding since November 2013.
ST. PAUL, MN – With the first month behind them, thousands of students across the state are settling into their classrooms for the 2014-15 school year. Governor Dayton visited Duluth today, meeting with kindergarten students and teachers at Congdon Park Elementary.
Since 2011, the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature have invested $895 million in schools. This year, more than 55,000 of Minnesota’s youngest learners will benefit from free all-day kindergarten, while others will benefit from high-impact initiatives designed to increase literacy and close the achievement gap.
“As Minnesota’s students and teachers return to the classroom, I wish them all a successful school year,” said Governor Dayton. “During the past four years, the Legislature and I have worked to make high-impact investments that will improve academic achievement and prepare our students for future success.”
Governor Dayton visits with all-day kindergarten students at Congdon Park Elementary School in Duluth
Governor Mark Dayton speaks with students from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
After nearly a decade of cuts to higher education funding, tuition skyrocketed at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU). From 2001 to 2014, tuition at the U of M more than doubled from $5,002 to $13,626 for state residents. Left unchecked, ever increasing tuition costs and increasing debt are a tax on the future of Minnesota students and a drag on our state’s economy.
Access to a high-quality education should be available to all Minnesotans and not just students who can afford to take on costly loans. In 2013, we froze tuition at the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU systems schools to halt the trend of double-digit cost hikes. This helped make college more affordable for 282,000 students.
Minnesotans agree that everyone who works hard in school deserves access to higher education. This tuition freeze begins to restore balance in Minnesota’s educational system. It also will help ensure our students for the future economy.
Today Governor Dayton traveled to Redwood, MN to speak in a forum at Minnesota’s annual Farmfest. To recognize the contributions to our state and their community, Governor Dayton has proclaimed August 7, 2014 Farm Family Recognition Day in honor of the 66,000 family-owned and operated farms across the state.
Family farms make up the backbone of Minnesota’s economy. From raising livestock to maintaining crops, Minnesota relies on farm family communities to build and sustain Minnesota agriculture and economy. Farm Families of Minnesota generate over 3 billion dollars in exports and are in strong support of renewable energy efforts.
“Minnesota is the fifth largest producer of agricultural products in the nation,” said Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Agriculture generates an estimated $90 billion in economic activity in this state.”
Farmfest is an annual agricultural fair that celebrates these accomplishments. With a packed schedule, this gathering offers livestock handling, panel discussions, crafts, seminars and entertainment. Each year the University of Minnesota presents the Farm Family of the Year Award which recognizes 70 Minnesota farm families who have contributed to our state's’ agricultural economy and their communities.
It is important to acknowledge Minnesota Farm families not only for their fundamental role in Minnesota agricultural economy, but also as community members that make Minnesota a better place. Governor Mark Dayton fully supports and promotes local farming here in Minnesota. Since taking office in 2011, Governor Dayton and the Department of Agriculture have implemented the following initiatives:
Redwood Falls is now recognized as a Yellow Ribbon city.
Redwood Falls, Minnesota was recognized as a Yellow Ribbon city during the Yellow Ribbon Proclamation ceremony today, August 7, 2014. The Yellow Ribbon Recognition Program pays tribute to communities and companies with an exceptional record of caring, commitment, and compassion for service members, veterans, and their families through various programs and public works.
"The men and women of the Minnesota National Guard, other U.S. Forces, and their families, have earned our admiration and appreciation," said Governor Mark Dayton. "They have also earned our continuing assistance. I thank the Redwood Falls community for joining nearly 300 Yellow Ribbon cities, counties, and businesses, who have committed to support our Minnesota heroes, when they return home."
Because of the efforts of the people of Redwood Falls, service members, veterans, and their families enjoy peace of mind knowing they have the appreciation, love, and support of people in Minnesota and the nation.
A section of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System being constructed in South Dakota
Governor Mark Dayton traveled to Luverne last week to meet with local officials and area legislators to discuss next steps in advancing the construction of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. Governor Dayton listened, asked questions, and offered his continued support to ensure the project continues on course toward completion. The Governor stressed that the project is essential to maintaining a high quality of life in southwestern Minnesota, and in supporting the continued economic growth of the entire region.
“This project is critically important to the people and businesses of southwestern Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “Without it, business growth would be stifled, new jobs would be lost, and residents would continue being forced to buy bottled water. I will continue doing everything possible to see this project through to completion.”
A shortage of water in communities across southwestern Minnesota is stifling economic growth in the region, and diminishing the quality of life enjoyed by its citizens. Luverne’s isobutanol plant has expressed wishes to expand, but that expansion has been hampered due to a lack of available water in the area. The quality of aquifer water in many communities is so poor that residents have been forced to drink bottled water.
New $70 million office tower is largest commercial development in the history of downtown Duluth
ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton, Mayor Don Ness, local officials, and area business leaders broke ground on a new $70 million office tower in downtown Duluth. The project, which will serve as the corporate headquarters for maurices – a Duluth-based international retail company – will create and retain 900 jobs and leverage $50 million in private investment. When complete, the 11-story office tower will house hundreds of maurices employees and represent the largest commercial development project in the history of downtown Duluth.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for maurices, and a monumental investment in downtown Duluth,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank maurices for its continued commitment to Minnesota, and for the many hundreds of jobs this project will create and support in the coming years.”
Founded in 1931 as a small retail store in Duluth, maurices has grown into an international business operating over 900 stores across the United States and Canada. Over the last five years, maurices has grown significantly, opening more than 250 stores and increasing its sales by 65 percent. Between its Duluth headquarters and 45 store locations across Minnesota, maurices employs over 1,200 Minnesotans with a statewide annual payroll of $30 million.
As the company continues growing, maurices needed additional space to accommodate up to 600 associates. Right now, maurices employs 425 associates spread among three different office buildings in downtown Duluth. When completed in 2016, the new corporate headquarters will consolidate those employees into one space, and provide room for the company to keep growing.
Project Received $8.5 Million in State Funding
In 2012, the project received $8.5 million in a competitive economic development grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). These competitive grants were funded by a $500 million Jobs Bill signed into law by Governor Dayton in May of 2012. DEED awarded the grants to economic development projects statewide based on five criteria, including: project readiness, job creation, potential to leverage additional public and private investment, regional impact, and public benefit. The maurices project was among the top three ranked projects out of 37 finalists.