On March 23, the Minnesota House majority unveiled a proposal that would allocate $7 billion to road and bridge improvements across our state without raising taxes. The Road and Bridge Act of 2015 provides a long-term sustainable transportation funding model that prioritizes local roads and bridges.
The plan offers a dramatic contrast to the transportation initiative being pursued by Governor Dayton which would raise taxes and fees on Minnesotans by billions of dollars.
Under the $7 billion House plan, 15,500 lane miles for all roads and 330 bridges statewide would be repaired or replaced. More than $3 billion of that total comes from a redirection of tax dollars that are already being collected. As part of the proposal, the sales taxes on auto parts, the Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax, the rental vehicle tax and the sales tax on rental vehicles would no longer be sent to Minnesota's General Fund.
Instead, those tax dollars would be placed in a newly created Transportation Stability Fund, where money would be allocated into a number of new areas, including statewide roads and bridges, small city roads, and bus services in Greater Minnesota. Additionally the Road and Bridge Act includes $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.
Personally, I was extremely pleased the comprehensive road and bridge funding proposal included a provision I'm co-authoring, which provides a reliable funding source for small city transportation projects, which for too long have been neglected by the legislature.
The small city roads account would dedicate $282 million to communities with less than 5,000 people, allowing them to repair their streets. More than 30 communities in our legislative district could benefit from this provision.
With less than two months remaining in the 2015 legislative session, we now have two long-term road and bridge funding options on the table.
The House's $7 billion proposal would provide hundreds of millions for local road projects and street repair and would not cost taxpayers a nickel.
The Governor's $9 billion transportation proposal raises taxes and fees on Minnesotans, has nothing for small city roads and would ultimately cost drivers a minimum of 16-cents per gallon more at the pump.
So what are your thoughts on future road and bridge funding? Please share your input on this and other legislative topics by sending me an email at email@example.com, or by calling 651-296-4228. I look forward to hearing from you soon.