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2021 Special Session

Omnibus transportation law appropriates billions for infrastructure, public transit

Infrastructure, public transit and much more will receive billions of dollars in funding under the provisions of a new law that also contains dozens of policy updates and changes.

Sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), the omnibus transportation law is generally effective July 1, 2021.

The omnibus transportation finance and policy law appropriates $7.27 billion and includes funding for the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety and the Metropolitan Council during the upcoming 2022-23 biennium.

The funding includes $220.4 million in net General Fund spending over base during the biennium. The total appropriations by agency are:

• $6.49 billion for the Department of Transportation;

• $516.3 million for the Department of Public Safety; and

• $235.7 million for the Metropolitan Council.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

The law includes hundreds of millions of dollars for road and bridge work around the state, and also makes a number of one-time General Fund appropriations above the base. Those for MnDOT include:

• $18 million for the Small Cities Assistance program;

• $14 million for the Local Bridge program;

• $12 million for town roads (above the formula-based distribution);

• $10 million for a second daily Amtrak train between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago;

• $5.6 million for an airport runway in Karlstad;

• $5.5 million for the Local Road Improvement program;

• $5 million for the Safe Routes to School program (above the base appropriations of $500,000 annually);

• $5 million for the Active Transportation program; and

• $300,000 for a grant to the Interstate Highway 494 Corridor Commission;

One-time General Fund appropriations above base for the Metropolitan Council include:

• $57.5 million for arterial bus rapid transit projects;

• $250,000 for a zero-emission transit vehicle transition plan; and

• $250,000 for an analysis of transit service in a Trunk Highway 55 corridor.

The Department of Public Safety will also receive a one-time General Fund appropriation of $14.8 million for grants to install school bus stop-arm cameras.

There is also $213 million in trunk highway bonding authorized in fiscal year 2022 and an additional $100 million in each year of the 2024-25 biennium for the Corridors of Commerce program. A provision in the law also revises selection criteria and requirements for the program.

The fiscal year 2022 appropriation from trunk highway bond proceeds allocates $100 million for state road construction. It also provides $113 million for “Regional and Community Investment Priorities,” which the Department of Transportation has indicated will be allocated:

• $31 Million for Ramsey Gateway/U.S. Highway 10;

• $30 million for U.S. Highway 10 in Wadena;

• $27 million for Interstate 94 Westbound in Albertville; and

• $25 million for U.S. Highway 212 in Carver County.

A $30.9 million General Fund appropriation to the Department of Transportation was also made for trunk highway corridor studies and local projects. While not specified in the legislation, the projects anticipated to be funded include:

• $8 million for the expansion of U.S. Highway 8 from two to four lanes in Chisago County;

• $7 million for 99th Avenue and Trunk Highway 65 in Blaine;

• $3.5 million for a bridge over Interstate 694 in Washington County;

• $3.03 million for Sherburne street and utility reconstruction;

• $2.5 million for U.S. Highway 169, Trunk Highway 282 and County State Aid Highway 9 in Scott County;

• $2.5 million for studies of Trunk Highways 3, 77 and 55;

• $1.5 million for a roundabout on Trunk Highway 41 in Chanhassen;

• $1.4 million for a study of Interstate 35 in Dakota County;

• $1 million for a study of U.S. Highway 10 in St. Cloud; and

• $500,000 for a study of I-35 and County State Aid Highway 9 in Rice County.

Policy

The law contains a number of policy provisions meant to address public safety issues, such as ending driver’s license suspensions for some violations including unpaid traffic tickets and fines (effective Jan. 1, 2022), and reducing the fee for some license reinstatements, which supporters say will allow more people to drive legally and safely.

There is also money to outfit state troopers with body cameras and for beefed up security around the State Capitol Complex.

Some of the other notable policy provisions in the law will:

• establish that, beginning in fiscal year 2026, the amount of funding needed for Metro Mobility will be included in the state’s budget forecasts with the expectation that program will be fully funded moving forward;

• set school bus inspection standards to national standards;

• require MnDOT to make information on requirements and the selection process for the Safe Routes to School program available on its website;

• direct the Department of Public Safety to implement a process to provide self-service kiosks for motor vehicle registration renewals;

• establish a $20 fine for people who miss a driver’s knowledge or road test, or cancel it within 24 hours of the appointment time (effective Nov. 1, 2021, or on completion of the necessary programming). Requirements for who can monitor an online driver’s license knowledge test are also modified;

• modify fees for various types of license plates;

• clarify that electric bicycles are not defined in state statute as “off-road” or “all-terrain” or “motor” vehicles, and create three different classifications for e-bikes based on their pedal assist top speed;

• reduce the maximum power of an electric bicycle motor from 1,000 to 750 watts, and set certain equipment and labeling requirements;

• establish that bicycle lanes are part of the roadway, not the shoulder;

• require that someone appointed by the court to serve on an eminent domain property valuation panel must reside in Minnesota;

• increase the fee for a motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license;

• eliminate a requirement that an appointed county highway engineer must be a citizen and resident of Minnesota;

• require a study of speed management in work zones;

• broaden the prohibitions list on use of Trunk Highway Fund dollars for specified purposes (effective July 1, 2025);

• require a same-day driver’s license pilot project in Lakeville and Moorhead (effective Oct. 1, 2022);

• require state agencies to detail their proposed Trunk Highway Fund and Highway User Tax Distribution Fund spending in their biennial budget proposals;

• prevent the Metropolitan Council from using newly authorized regional transit capital bond proceeds for light rail transit lines or expansion;

• change the motor vehicle sales tax revenue available to MnDOT to administer Greater Minnesota transit from a fixed dollar amount to up to 2% of annual revenue;

• direct the Metropolitan Council to develop a zero-emission plan for its transit vehicle fleet;

• allow single-occupant vehicles to operate in MnPASS lanes during certain specified holidays;

• provide for an independent review of the MNDRIVE system’s performance and processes;

• allow Minneapolis to use previously authorized value capture district funds for other types of transit lines beyond streetcars;

• authorize the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to set the speed limit on parkways within the parks (effective the day after the board’s approval);

• create several new specialty license plates, including agriculture, honorary consul and Minnesota 100 club plates;

• revise the 30-day trip-permit fee to be one-twelfth the registration tax amount on trucks and tractors; and

• direct MnDOT to arrange a study of the impact COVD-19 has had on public transportation and commuters, to be done by the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.

The law also designates new memorial highways and bridges, including:

• a segment of Trunk Highway 13 that runs through and in the vicinity of Waseca as the “Corporal Caleb L. Erickson Memorial Highway”;

• a segment of U.S. Highway 12 within Howard Lake as the "Chief Daryl "Taddy" Drusch Memorial Highway”;

• a bridge on U.S. Highway 52, at Wentworth Avenue in West Saint Paul, as the “Private Joseph Marthaler Memorial Bridge”;

• Trunk Highway 11 from Roseau to Warroad as the “Patrol Inspector Robert H. Lobdell Memorial Highway”; and

• a portion of Trunk Highway 310 from Roseau to Canada, as the “Deputy Richard K. Magnuson Memorial Highway.”

2021 Special Session: SSHF10*/SSSF10/SSCH5


New Laws 2021

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HF0010* / SF0010 / CH5
House Chief Author: Hornstein
Senate Chief Author: Newman
Effective Dates: See chapter summary in the file link above.
* The legislative bill marked with an asterisk denotes the file submitted to the governor.