Minnesota 2050 is an initiative to create awareness in private citizens, in politicians, and in public agencies about the vast infrastructure network that supports the health, safety and economic well-being of every Minnesotan. The initiative includes the importance of not only building infrastructure but of sufficiently maintaining it so that it will continue to support Minnesotans for the foreseeable future.
The initiative was started in December 2009 following a meeting coordinated by the Minnesota Chapters of APWA and ASCE. The meeting included representatives from the University of Minnesota, the engineering community, transportation lobbying organizations, the legislature and a local elected official. The educators, engineers and lobbyists generally described infrastructure issues, including the importance adequate infrastructure funding. The elected officials stressed the importance of delivering the infrastructure message directly to the public.
From this background, MN2050 was organized into five infrastructure groups and is currently creating content and seeking contributions from a confederation of infrastructure related organizations and companies. The content includes slide presentations, a web site and a video.
The five initial MN2050 infrastructure groups are: 1) roads/bridges; 2) water/wastewater/storm sewer (Liquid Assets); 3) airports; 4) ports/waterways; and 5) rail. Each group is creating a message how that infrastructure impacts the daily lives of Minnesotans including their safety, health and economy; what major initiatives or investments need to be addressed within each group; what is the investment trend line; and what can Minnesotans expect if adequate infrastructure investments are not made.
The current MN2050 progress is that numerous presentations have been given to public groups, the first web page has been created (‘blueprintminnesota.com’) and a one-hour Liquid Assets video has been created and shown on Twin City Public Television (TPT).
In the coming months additional presentations will be given, a MN2050 website will be opened and a MN2050 video will be created with TPT.
Brad Henry is a registered professional engineer in Minnesota and California and is a lecturer in the Infrastructure Systems Engineering program at the Technological Leadership Institute. He also serves as a MN2050 Committee Member.