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Transportation Sales Taxes

Metropolitan Transportation Area Sales Tax

Initially authorized Laws 2008, ch. 152, art. 4, § 2 (Minn. Stat. § 297A.992)
Date imposed July 1, 2008, for Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington counties. Carver and Scott counties have not yet imposed the tax but are still authorized to do so, or they may choose to impose a tax under the Greater Minnesota Transportation Sales Tax Authority. Scott County has chosen to impose the tax under this other authority.
Amount collected in CY 2013 $114,309,615
Additional legislative action Laws 2009, ch. 88, art. 8, sec. 53 Laws 2011, 1st spec. sess., ch. 3, art. 2, sec. 1-2
Tax authorized A transportation sales and use tax of one-quarter of 1 percent on retail sales and uses; also a $20 per vehicle excise tax on motor vehicles sold by licensed dealers within the taxing authority.
Required county action to impose the tax The tax may be imposed by resolution after the eligible county becomes part of the metropolitan transportation area via declaration of resolution by the county board and subsequently entering into a joint powers agreement.
Allowed uses of the tax proceeds Transportation improvements including capital costs and capital improvements to transit ways such as commuter rail rolling stock, light rail vehicles, transit way buses, and park-and-ride facilities. Other allowed uses include studies to determine feasibility, planning, alternatives analysis, environmental impact, engineering, property acquisition for transit way purchases, construction of transit ways, and operating assistance for transit ways. Up to 1.25 percent of the total awards may be annually allocated for planning, studies, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of pedestrian programs and bicycle programs and pathways.

The 2014 law required that for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, the Metropolitan Council receives at least 75 percent of the amount of revenue it received for operating transitways that it received under a June 30, 2011, operating grant agreement. It also established that the priority of the fund use to be (1) payment of debt issued prior to January 1, 2011, and then (2) other authorized projects.

Tax administration The tax is collected by the Commissioner of Revenue with the state tax, as provided under Minnesota Statutes § 297A.99.
Tax expiration The tax is terminated when a county withdraws from the joint powers agreement and after it has satisfied its portion of all outstanding bonds or obligations entered into while the county was a member of the agreement. If the joint powers agreement is terminated altogether, the taxes will terminate when all outstanding bonds or obligations are satisfied. The auditors of the counties in which the taxes are imposed will determine when termination is finalized.
Miscellaneous If a county's proportion of the sales tax revenues collected under this section is 3 percent or less, the joint powers board must make annual grants to the county equal to at least the amount of revenue collected in the county.

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Greater Minnesota Transportation Area Sales Tax

Initially authorized Laws 2008, ch. 152, art. 4, § 3 (Minn. Stat. § 297A.993)
Date imposed Any county that is not imposing a county sales tax as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Area Authority may choose to impose the tax individually or jointly. The following counties now impose the sales and use tax under this authority:
  • Becker: July 1, 2014
  • Blue Earth: April 1, 2016
  • Brown: April 1, 2016
  • Cass: April 1, 2016
  • Chisago: April 1, 2016
  • Cook: January 1, 2017
  • Crow Wing: April 1, 2016
  • Douglas: October 1, 2014
  • Fillmore: January 1, 2015
  • Freeborn: January 1, 2016
  • Hubbard: July 1, 2015
  • Lyon: October 1, 2015
  • Mille Lacs: January 1, 2017
  • Pine: January 1, 2017
  • Rice: January 1, 2014
  • Steele: April 1, 2015
  • Todd: April 1, 2015
  • Wabasha: April 1, 2016
  • Wadena: April 1, 2014
  • Winona: January 1, 2017

The following counties imposed both the authorized sales and use tax and the $20 excise tax on motor vehicles:

  • Beltrami: April 1, 2014
  • Carlton: April 1, 2014
  • Ottertail: January 1, 2016
  • Scott: October 1, 2015
  • St. Louis: April 1, 2015

Tax authorized A transportation sales and use tax of one-half of 1 percent on retail sales and uses; also the county may impose a $20 per vehicle excise tax on motor vehicles sold by licensed dealers within the taxing authority.
Additional legislative action Laws 2009, ch. 88, art. 8, sec. 4 Laws 2013, ch. 117, art. 3, sec. 25-26
Required county action to impose the tax Originally, the tax had to be approved by voters in the county in a general election. The 2013 law allowed a county to impose the tax by resolution after a public hearing.
Allowed uses of the tax proceeds The tax proceeds must exclusively pay for the cost of a specific transportation project or improvement designated by the board of the county or more than one county acting under a joint powers agreement. The 2013 law expanded the allowed uses to include payment of transportation and operating costs of transit projects, transit operating costs, and payment of capital costs related to the safe routes to school program.
Tax administration The tax is collected by the Commissioner of Revenue with the state tax, as provided under Minnesota Statutes § 297A.99.
Tax expiration The tax will expire following completion or termination of the authorized specific project. There is no required expiration date if the tax is being used to fund transit operations or improvements.

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December 2016

Local Sales Taxes

For more information: see the publication Local Sales Taxes in Minnesota

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