Manufacturing in State of the State Addresses: Minnesota

By February 10, 2011Economy, Infrastructure

Gov. Mark Dayton name checked great Minnesota manufacturing companies in his first State of the State address on Wednesday, but mostly as a retrospective of how great the state used to be. He also thanked General Mills its support of the state’s Enterprise LEAN business process improvement initiative, a government streamlining effort.

That was it as far as manufacturing goes. The governor, a Democrat, did spend a good portion of his address talking about the productive topic infrastructure.

Roads, highways, and public transit are to our state’s economy, as are arteries to the human body. If the arteries are healthy, and efficiently transport blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body, everything works at its best. If, however, the arteries become decrepit or clogged, the body’s performance suffers.

Minnesota is at a critical juncture with its transportation systems. Our investments are inadequate to maintain their condition or expand them to serve our growing population. Their further deterioration will seriously constrict our future economic growth and damage our social vitality.

That is why I have asked Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel to present to the Legislature his ideas for better roads, highways, and transit systems, and to begin the discussion of how best to finance them. I invite others with transportation and finance expertise in both the private and public sectors to join us in that discussion.

I ask the Legislature to consider creating a Transportation Finance Authority, chaired by the MnDOT Commissioner, to bring together the best minds and their ideas for financing the transportation improvements upon which our future social and economic vitality depend.

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