Author: Kara Thate

Transmission development to benefit as Minnesota opens all state and federal highways for transmission co-location 

Media Contact 

Drew Henry 



June 5, 2024 

Coalition achieves key policy win in its first state 

MINNEAPOLIS—Last week, Minnesota officially adopted a new policy allowing the co-location of high-voltage transmission infrastructure in all existing state and interstate highway corridors, achieving the top priority for the newly launched state-level coalition of NextGen Highways. 

“This is an exciting and important step in speeding the development of absolutely essential infrastructure for delivering clean energy and helping the country ensure grid reliability and resiliency,” said Randy Satterfield, Executive Director of NextGen Highways. “Knocking down state-level policy barriers like this one in Minnesota is exactly the kind of progress our state coalition push is intended to achieve.” 

NextGen Highways has developed a diverse national coalition advancing the concept of co-location of utility and telecommunication infrastructure in existing public right-of-way (ROW) corridors with policy makers and others and is now building state-level coalitions. The coalitions advocate for ROWs to be considered for new electric transmission infrastructure to meet the growing demand from decarbonization policies, electric vehicles and building electrification. Part of that effort includes identifying barriers to co-location and strategies to overcome those barriers.  

The Minnesota legislation amends existing state law to explicitly allow for the co-location of new high-voltage electric transmission in all existing Minnesota state and interstate highway corridors, ending a decades-long state agency policy prohibiting utility infrastructure from being located in interstate and other controlled-access highway ROW. 

Securing this policy win highlights the impact of NextGen Highways launching state-level coalitions. Across the country state laws and agency regulations pose a wide variety of barriers to co-locating high-voltage transmission in existing public ROWs, with diverse groups of stakeholders bringing a range of perspectives to the table on the best approach to address them. 

“NextGen Highways Minnesota includes clean energy advocates, labor and environmental organizations,” said Satterfield. “These groups worked with the state’s utility companies, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and bill authors to find a compromise on several technical details that had stalled progress on this issue in the past.” 

“A broad and diverse coalition able to engage with on-the-ground relationships, experience and credibility made this win possible,” Satterfield emphasized. 

The NextGen Highways Minnesota coalition will now turn its attention to convening and collaborating with state agencies and Minnesota utilities building transmission to consider existing infrastructure corridors for future transmission development, including the MISO long-range transmission planning process. 

NextGen Highways state coalitions are going active in several states across the country, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Massachusetts, with other states around the country to follow. Stakeholders and policy makers are responding to the common-sense siting solution of co-location. 


About NextGen Highways 

NextGen Highways is a collaborative initiative promoting the use of highways and other existing rights-of-way as infrastructure corridors where electric and communications infrastructure are strategically and safely co-located in existing highway rights-of-way. Learn more at