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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jerry Hertaus (R)

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Hertaus urges support for House transportation plan

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

 

ST. PAUL – Rep. Jerry Hertaus, R-Greenfield, 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 House plan would repair or replace more than 15,500 lane miles of road and 330 bridges statewide.

"People say improving roads and bridges should be a priority, but also oppose raising the gas tax," Hertaus said. "The House's approach allows us to satisfy both sentiments."

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 package 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 House plan. The program, which House Republicans led to passage in 2015, resulted in more than $257,000 in small-cities funding for District 33A. That includes: Independence ($62,145), Greenfield $54,497, Wayzata ($51,103), St. Bonifacius ($28,646), Maple Plain ($24,114), Long Lake ($23,813) and Loretto ($13,035).

Through the House's proposal, cities in District 33A would receive additional ongoing small-cities funding. For example, Independence would receive $136,719 every two years.

"This funding is designed to help small cities, which operate on smaller budgets, conduct maintenance and repairs to fit their particular needs," Hertaus said. "That is an important tool to have at their disposal. That said, we still need to do more with our roads and bridges to, for instance, improve a terribly dangerous stretch of Highway 12 that runs through our area. That is a separate issue and one I continue working on at the Legislature."

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