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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dale Lueck (R)

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Lueck urges support for House transportation plan

Thursday, February 25, 2016
AITKIN, Minn. – Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, 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.
Lueck authored a key provision of the transportation package that would direct the sales tax already paid on the purchase of tires into a new dedicated road and bridge account. In total, the House plan would repair or replace more than 15,500 lane miles of road and 330 bridges statewide.
"It's time to put real dollars into a long term plan to improve our roads and bridges," Lueck said. "The dollars are there, we already have excess tax resources flowing into the state coffers to do that without adding any new taxes on our citizens."
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 House proposal creates a Transportation Stability Fund where existing sales tax dollars primarily from tires, auto & truck repair parts are dedicated to roads and bridges. Dedicating those already existing revenue sources will result in about $3.1 billion dollars of new transportation funding over the next 10 years.
In addition to the Transportation Stability Fund, the House Republican 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.
One of the major components of the House plan continues to expand funding for the small cities. The Small Cities program, which was enacted in 2015, resulted in nearly $332,000 in new transportation funding for District 10B cities of under 5,000 residents, including Crosslake ($62,145), Emily ($36,658), Crosby ($33,836), Aitkin ($30,274), Fifty Lakes ($27,761), Hill City ($16,158), Cuyuna ($13,971), Ironton ($13,807), Deerwood ($13,453), Garrison ($12,764), McGregor ($11,555), Fort Ripley ($9,760), Riverton ($9,568), Trommald ($9,042), Palisade ($8,344), McGrath ($8,251), Manhattan Beach (7,702) and Tamarack ($6,784).
Under the 10-year House Republican transportation plan, cities in District 10B would continue receiving significant additional small-cities transportation funding. If the House's long-term plan is adopted, it would result in cities like Aitkin seeing more than a doubling of the 2015 funding to more than $66,600 every two years.
"Direct transportation funding for small cities in rural Minnesota was long overdue," Lueck said. "During this session I look forward to building additional bipartisan consensus on a long-term, 10-year transportation plan that gets us back on track fixing our roads and bridges."
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