Daily Digest: Construction season underway

Good morning and welcome to Friday. Here’s the Digest:

1. State transportation officials rolled out a $1 billion list of Minnesota seasonal road and bridge construction projects on Thursday and pleaded for patience as lanes close and orange cones go up. Projects include a $46 million resurfacing of Interstate 94 and fixing more than 50 bridges between Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. A project slated for July will likely affect a lot of Minnesota cabin-goers: A five-mile stretch of Interstate 35 around Forest Lake will be reduced to two lanes for repaving. Many of the 211 projects are already underway, and unless lawmakers agree on a transportation funding plan next year’s list will likely be smaller, said Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle. (MPR News)

2. Republicans are trying to use their state House and Senate majorities to re-engineer Minnesota government in a cheaper, leaner, more business-friendly direction. But they are also pushing for a host of policy changes — tax cuts and credits, subsidies and regulatory relief — that would benefit traditionally GOP-aligned sectors like insurance, energy, agribusiness, homebuilding and other industries. In some cases, the help extends to a single company. Like a manufacturer in northwestern Minnesota, or a shrimp farm in the southwest. (Star Tribune)

3. Elected officials, business leaders and military officials gathered at Camp Ripley Thursday to celebrate the completion of a massive new 10-megawatt solar array, a joint project between the Minnesota National Guard and Duluth-based Minnesota Power. The solar panels sprawl over an area the size of about 65 football fields on the east side of Camp Ripley, about 10 miles north of Little Falls in central Minnesota. It’s the largest solar farm on any National Guard base in the U.S. and one of the largest solar farms in Minnesota. It will produce enough energy to power about 2,000 homes. Most of that electricity will be returned to the grid for use by Minnesota Power customers unless it’s needed by the camp. (MPR News)

4. A group of parents and students dropped their lawsuit Thursday against an Iron Range school district for allowing a transgender student’s use of the girls’ locker room, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota. The lawsuit was filed in September after the Virginia, Minn. school district changed its policy that once barred a transgender student at Virginia High School from using girls’ facilities last school year to align with a federal rule. The school district and federal education and justice departments were named as defendants. Thursday’s court filing does not elaborate on why the lawsuit was dropped. (Star Tribune)

5. Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, is now working as director of President Trump’s National Economic Council and seems to be influencing the presdent to move toward more establishment positions. The growing influence of Cohn and others was on display this week as Trump reversed himself on several high-profile issues — including a less confrontational approach to China, an endorsement of government subsidies for exports and the current leadership of the Federal Reserve. The president’s new positions move him much closer to the views of Cohn and others on Wall Street, not to mention mainstream Republicans and Democrats. (Washington Post)

The Digest is taking Monday off. Have a great Easter weekend.

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