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Published March 27, 2012, 10:09 PM

Big Plans for the Future of North Dakota

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Business leaders have been touring the state to help boost success in North Dakota and they made their last stop here in Grand Forks on Tuesday.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Business leaders have been touring the state to help boost success in North Dakota and they made their last stop here in Grand Forks on Tuesday.

The program is called 2020 & Beyond and was launched by Governor Jack Dalrymple and the Chamber of Commerce.

From daycare and petroleum refineries to state-wide wifi and high speed rail, no matter what ideas were brought up today-all were in hopes to better the state of North Dakota for the future.

More than 1,400 ideas have been generated state-wide by various leaders, but city after city--the same topics are being brought up and folks from Minot and Bismark all the way to the Red River Valley are working as a team.

"People on the east side of the state have been very sympathetic to what's going on on the west side of the state," said Chamber of Commerce President, Andy Peterson.

In terms of daycare near the oil patch--leaders here in town believe its important for bettering the state.

"People won't live here if they don't have quality care for their kids while they work," said District 42 Senator, Mac Schneider.

"There needs to be affordable, available, and safe daycare," said District 18 Representative, Eliot Glassheim.

Grand Forks leaders also believe there's a need for petroleum refineries throughout North Dakota as well as statewide wifi.

"The key here is turn into this one time harvest in terms of our natural resources into a permanent investment into our people in North Dakota," said Schneider.

"First state in the nation to do it and I think it would show we're high tech and give everyone access," said Glassheim.

Although the costs of free internet would be expensive, spreading out the payment over a period of time could make it a possibility.

"If it costs 100 million over 5 years, yes we can," said Glassheim.

Overall, leaders are excited to put these plans to work.

"It's going to be a challenge but its going to be an exciting challenge, talking about North Dakota's future," said Schneider.

High speed rail was also a big conversation. Leaders say a quick connection from Grand Forks to Minot and Bismark would be a relief.

If you want to view the ideas, click on our "easy links" right here on WDAZ.com and look for ND2020andBeyond.com.

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