ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 (House File 4), the major part of House Republicans' comprehensive proposal for transportation in Minnesota.
The Republican proposal invests $7 billion over the next decade without raising taxes. The 10-year approach prioritizes road and bridge infrastructure. Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls said the focus is on immediate repair of roads in Minnesota communities, highway improvements for commuters and commerce, and reliable, long-term funding without raising taxes.
"This package shows we can provide more funding to improve our roads and bridges without gas-tax increases such as the governor proposes," Nornes said. "One thing that is especially good about this proposal is it provides more money for small cities throughout the state, including a number in our area."
Cities with populations of fewer than 5,000 residents would receive $282 million for transportation-related projects through the House plan. Municipalities in Nornes's District 8A throughout Otter Tail County would receive around $300,000 annually.
Here is a rundown of approximated distribution: Battle Lake, $33,754; Dalton, $18,261; Dent, $18,015; Elizabeth, $18,234; Erhard, $16,977; Pelican Rapids, $68,831; Perham, $92,742; Rothsay, $23,999.
Over the next 10 years, the Republican proposal prioritizes repairing or replacing 15,500 lane miles for all roads and 330 bridges statewide. This is accomplished through the following investments:
$4.03 billion for state roads
$1.44 billion for county roads
$583 million for municipal roads
$282 million for small cities under 5,000
$139 million for Greater Minnesota bus services
$60 million for township roads & bridges
The Republican proposal creates a special fund called the Transportation Stability Fund that collects existing proceeds from dedicated tax revenues and deposits them into accounts for each of their dedicated purpose. There are five accounts that would dedicate a combined $3.1 billion over 10 years.
In addition to the dedicated funds provided by the Transportation Stability Fund, the Republican proposal uses $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, $1.2 billion from realigning Minnesota Department of Transportation resources, $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds, and $228 million in General Funds.