ST. PAUL – Minnesota's latest economic forecast will be released in the days ahead, and with another surplus expected, State Representative Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) said now is the time for the legislature to approve the Minnesota House's long-term transportation plan that would invest $7 billion in state roads and bridges over the next ten years without raising gas taxes.
"It is senseless to raise taxes on anyone when state government is already collecting too much from the taxpayers," Miller said. "That's why I continue to push for the House proposal that will solve our road and bridge needs without forcing drivers to pay more at the pump."
Miller said the House proposal, which was approved in 2015 and can still become law in 2016, utilizes revenue that's already being collected from sales taxes on auto parts, rental vehicles, and other transportation-related items. The proposal also uses bonding and general funds as funding sources.
Over the next ten years, the Republican proposal invests:
$4.03 billion for state roads
$1.44 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
For Miller, expanding funding for the Small Cities Program is one of the critical aspects of the comprehensive proposal. The program, which was created by House Republicans in 2015, would distribute nearly $900,000 in funding for towns in Swift, Chippewa, Renville and Kandiyohi counties over the next two years if the House's long-term transportation proposal becomes law.
"In more specific terms, this means $106,000 for Benson, $90,000 for Renville, $60,000 for Appleton and $50,000 for Clara City over the biennium," Miller said. "Greater Minnesota is a big winner under this proposal, and the only thing that could hold up its approval will be Democratic insistence on a gas tax increase or another train for Minneapolis."
The 2016 session is set to begin on March 08, 2016.