Earmark Hands Annandale $2 Million in Rural Broadband Money
ST. PAUL (AP) - The central Minnesota city of Annandale would get one-fifth of the new money available statewide for broadband Internet build-outs in an earmark that passed the Legislature this week with no time to spare.
The earmark vaulted Annandale past a competitive bidding process that other rural towns must go through.
Annandale was passed over for a grant in 2014, but a clause inserted in a budget bill Monday night by House Republican negotiators sets aside $2 million for them this time.
Some people worry about awarding money outside the bidding process. The state Office of Broadband Development makes grants to cities that partner with private companies based on cost, significance to the community and evidence that an area is underserved by Internet providers.
The bill awaits action from Gov. Mark Dayton.