ST. PAUL – Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, is urging support for a long-term transportation plan that would invest $7 billion in state roads and bridges over the next 10 years without an increase in the gas tax.
In total, the plan would repair or replace more than 15,500 lane miles of road and 330 bridges statewide.
"Our roads and bridges need work and this plan puts stable, consistent funding in place for the next decade," Nornes said. "People say roads and bridges should be a priority and the House's proposal supports that notion."
Over the next 10 years, the Republican proposal invests:
$4 billion for state roads
$1.4 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 and bridges
The 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 proposal uses $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, $1.2 billion from realigning Minnesota Department of Transportation resources, $1.1 billion in General Obligation bonds, and $228 million in General Funds.
Expanding funding for the Small Cities Program is one of the major components of the plan. The program, which House Republicans led to passage in 2015, resulted in nearly $167,000 in funding for District 8A cities under 5,000 residents, including: Perham ($46,913), Pelican Rapids ($34,827), Battle Lake ($17,036), Rothsay ($12,087), Vergas ($11,559), Dalton ($9,197), Elizabeth ($9,179), Dent ($9,072), Erhard ($8,547) and Underwood ($8,505). Through the House Republican plan, these cities would receive additional ongoing small-cities funding, with $103,209 to Perham and $76,619 to Pelican Rapids every two years, for example.
"Small cities often have a tough time keeping up with maintenance costs and this funding helps them meet those challenges," Nornes said. "The important thing is they have flexibility and can use it to address their specific needs."