ST. PAUL – Legislation authored by Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, passed the Minnesota House on Tuesday April 22 as part of the Road and Bridge Act of 2015, the cornerstone of a transportation plan for Minnesota.
The House plan invests $7 billion in a 10-year package. Among key provisions in the Road and Bridge Act of 2015, the major part of the House's transportation plan, is Lueck’s proposal that places general sales tax revenue already paid on the purchase of auto tires into a new Transportation Stability Fund. The fund is to be used exclusively for improvements on roads and bridges, small-city roads, bus service in Greater Minnesota and other transportation system improvements.
It is estimated Lueck's proposal – along with dedicating other general sales taxes already paid on auto and truck parts – will generate approximately $2.57 billion over the next 10 years for roads and bridges. The House legislation does not include a tax increase. That is in contrast to Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal which would add a stiff new gas tax.
"Minnesotans have made it clear they want our roads and bridges brought up to standard," Lueck said. "The House plan is a common-sense solution that will improve our roads and bridges by permanently dedicating general sales tax dollars we already pay to transportation.”
Cities with populations of fewer than 5,000 residents would receive $282 million for transportation-related projects through the House plan. Municipalities in Lueck's District 10B would receive around $650,000 annually. Below is a rundown of approximated distribution.
Aitkin County: Aitkin, $59,860; Hill City, $32,001; McGrath, $16,393; McGregor, $22,923; Palisade, $16,596; Tamarack, $13,522. Crow Wing County: Crosby, $66,902; Crosslake, $123,938; Cuyuna, $26,693; Deerwood, $27,697; Emily, $72,625; Fifty Lakes, $55,039; Fort Ripley, $19,374; Garrison, $25,310; Ironton, $27,357; Manhattan Beach, $15,317; Riverton, $19,002; Trommald, $17,989.
Over the next 10 years, the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 prioritizes repairing or replacing an estimated 15,500 lane miles for all roads and 330 bridges statewide.
In addition to the dedicated funds provided by the Transportation Stability Fund, the House proposal uses $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, $1.2 billion from realigning Minnesota Department of Transportation resources, $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds, and $228 million in General Funds.
The House Republican transportation plan also increases funding by two-and-a-half times – to $812 million – for road-and-bridge projects to help traffic flow more freely in corridors of commerce throughout the state. Clearing bottlenecks in these areas would improve safety and provide statewide economic benefits, Lueck said.
The legislation now goes to the Senate for its action.