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

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RELEASE: Transportation bill approved by Minnesota House

Friday, March 31, 2017

Road and bridge infrastructure prioritized using existing funds

ST. PAUL, MN—On a bipartisan vote of 76-54, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved a plan to invest $6 billion over the next 10 years toward the state’s transportation needs without raising taxes.

“Our plan prioritizes road and bridge infrastructure without raising taxes on hardworking Minnesotans,” said House Transportation Finance Chair Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska. “By using existing resources and a portion of the $1.6 billion budget surplus, we can provide this core function of government - roads and bridges - for every resident of our state.”

The proposal creates a new fund of existing tax revenue streams called the Transportation Priorities Fund. This new fund uses current, transportation-related state tax revenues to invest $450 million in new dollars for roads and bridges. Additionally, the transportation proposal would fund:

•$25 million for the Small Cities Road Assistance program
•$300 million for Corridors of Commerce program
•$35 million for rail grade crossings
•Funding to repair or replace all 97 bridges on MnDOT's local bridge priority list

“Right now, Minnesota has existing revenue streams that we can use to improve our roads and bridges,” said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. “Governor Dayton and legislative Democrats want to raise the gas tax on all Minnesotans, but that’s a hard sell when our state has a $1.6 billion surplus. Put simply: we can fix our roads and bridges without raising taxes.”

The Senate passed their own transportation proposal Thursday evening. The House and Senate proposals will now go to conference committee where lawmakers will reconcile differences between the two bills.


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