Last session the Minnesota Legislature took a major step in addressing our state’s road and bridge repair needs by passing a new law that dedicates billions of dollars over the next ten years to transportation. We were able to do this without raising any taxes.
It was the largest transportation funding plan that had been approved in nearly ten years.
Now the Minnesota House is looking to continue this positive progress, as we have unveiled a supplemental transportation finance bill that would allocate another $385 million for Minnesota’s transportation priorities.
Locally, most residents will be interested to learn that the proposal dedicates $10 million in cash and $145 million in trunk highway bonds into Corridors of Commerce. This program provides the funding source for what will be used to complete Highway 14, so I’m very pleased this remains a high priority. The Corridors of Commerce program received $400 million in new funding last session. We are now waiting for the project selection process to be completed and find out where Highway 14 is ranked.
There are also many other rural transportation initiatives that will receive funding increases besides trunk highways. For example, this proposal would also allocate more money to townships for bridge and culvert replacements. There also is more revenue for cities that have populations with less than 5,000 residents, giving them a greater opportunity to repair more of their streets.
Following last session’s transportation funding success story, lawmakers in St Paul could have ignored road and bridge needs this year. Instead, we have recognized that the repair needs remain and are seeking to keep it near the top or our priority list.
The supplemental transportation finance proposal contains solid growth for rural communities, and I appreciate that this legislation is moving forward.