Minnesota House of Representatives
Public Information Services

Menu

Public Information Services Menu

House again OKs transportation plan heavy on borrowing, General Funds shifts

By Jonathan Avise
Rep. Paul Torkelson presents the omnibus transportation finance bill on the House Floor May 24. Photo by Andrew VonBank

The House passed another omnibus transportation finance bill Wednesday that would rely on General Fund dollars to boost road and bridge spending.

The $5.9 billion, two-year transportation funding bill passed on a 74-54 vote proposes to shift $300 million in auto-related sales tax revenues toward road and bridge construction funding. The bill also calls for $940 million in borrowing over four years — $640 million for general state road construction and $300 million for the Corridors of Commerce program.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska), SS HF3 was sent to the Senate Wednesday evening, where Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) is the sponsor. There, the bill was tabled before that body adjourned shortly before 7 p.m.

“This historic transportation deal is a victory for Minnesotans who have waited for years for legislators to come together to fund our roads and bridges,” Torkelson said on the Floor.

Legislative Republicans have praised the plan, the framework of which was first passed off the House Floor March 31, saying it delivers a much-needed increase in dollars for road and bridge construction without raising taxes or fees.

DFLers — including Gov. Mark Dayton — have argued for an increase in the state’s gas tax, or a hike in license tab fees. Both would offer more long-term, sustainable funding for a state transportation system that badly needs it, they said.

“The third time is not the charm,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls), referencing the two previous times the full House has voted on an omnibus transportation finance package. “This is another bad bill.”

 

No funds for future light rail operations

The current version of the transportation bill avoids deep cuts to Metro Transit proposed in the original legislation. That funding reduction would have caused a huge shortfall in the budget of the Metropolitan Council’s transit agency that provides millions of bus and train rides in the Twin Cities metropolitan area each year.

The bill passed Wednesday would still wipe out the annual state contribution toward the operation costs of future light rail lines, forcing Metro Transit to rely on non-state sources — such as an increase in fares — to cover those costs. That would include the planned Southwest LRT line between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. 

Search Session Daily

Priority Dailies

House, Senate head toward lawsuit over governor's legislative funding veto

See you in court. That was the message Friday from Republican House and Senate leadership in ...

Weary lawmakers pass final budget bills, wrap 2017 special session

(UPDATED AT 3:27 p.m. with Gov. Dayton reaction) Day three of the 2017 special session saw la...

Recent Dailies

Lawmakers, registrars sound off on rollout of new motor vehicle licensing system

House lawmakers on Monday heard from Minnesotans exasperated by this summer’s rocky rollout of th...

Mediation ordered to work out legislative, gubernatorial funding dispute

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to ...

2017 state fair poll results

The cheese curds have been eaten, cookies consumed and Pronto Pups polished off. And, with the 20...

Minnesota Supreme Court takes up legislative funding battle

The fate of Gov. Mark Dayton’s legislative funding line-item veto now rests with the Minnesota Su...

Judge rules Dayton’s veto of Legislative funding violated constitution

(Updated 3:19 p.m.) A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-ite...

New laws on tap for July 1 include long-awaited Sunday sales

It took a special session, but the state government is funded for the 2018-19 biennium. The f...

Judge OKs legislative funding for 90 days

A Ramsey County judge has given the go-ahead for the House and Senate to remain operational until...

Dayton, legislative leaders have their day in court over funding issue

Lawyers for Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders met in a Ramsey County court Mond...

Legislative leaders will sue governor over line-item veto

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature are moving forward with their lawsuit against DF...

Public Information Services  ·   175 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN 55155   ·   Public.Information@house.mn