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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

ST. PAUL – In an effort to make both a short term and long range commitment to road and bridge improvements across Minnesota, State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) is authoring legislation that would make a major funding investment into statewide transportation needs.


"Minnesotans know we can fund our priorities including road and bridge infrastructure without a harmful gas tax increase," said Torkelson, chair of the Minnesota House Transportation Finance Committee. "At a time when Minnesota has a $1.6 billion surplus, we simply will not be raising taxes on Minnesota families to pay for a core function of government like roads and bridges." 


Torkelson said his bill would invest $450 million into road and bridge infrastructure throughout the state by redirecting existing transportation-related funding streams to the Transportation Priorities Fund. This includes existing taxes on auto repairs, auto rentals, the Motor Vehicle Lease Sales Tax, some of the existing tax on auto parts, and a new $75 surcharge on electric vehicles.


There’s also $1 billion in general-fund serviced Trunk Highway bonds spread over the next four years, $300 million in one-time Corridors of Commerce funding in Fiscal Year 2018, and $200 million per year in general obligation (GO) bonding for transportation and $35 million for rail grade crossings.


Torkelson’s plan also dedicates $12.5 million over each of the next two years to the popular small cities funding program which allocates dollars to cities with fewer than 5,000 residents for local street improvements.


“Over ten years, Minnesota would see a $6 billion investment in road and bridge improvements under this proposal,” Torkelson said.


Torkelson’s transportation funding proposal is expected to be debated on the House floor in the coming weeks.