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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL)

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Legislative Update- April 4, 2019

Thursday, April 04, 2019
My friend and constituent, Patsy Murphy, an advocate with the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, was able to ride with me yesterday in a prototype autonomous vehicle provided by VSI Labs, a Minnesota company which is researching this technology. The advent of self-driving cars is going to be liberating for people like Patsy, who are unable to drive themselves. You can see a video of our ride here. I’m sponsoring a bill that provides a safe testing framework for these vehicles so that they can receive the appropriate testing in our winter climate.
 
Here’s an update from the Capitol:
 
With less than eight weeks to go, our remaining time will be dedicated to finding a compromise with the Senate on a structurally sound budget.
 
Broad budget bills are starting to come together. This week, the House Transportation budget was released. As a member of the Transportation Committee, I thought you might be interested in the details below.
 

Transportation

Minnesotans expect us not only to maintain our crumbling transportation infrastructure, but to improve it, responsibly, for the long term. Kicking the can down the road, or proposing band-aid solutions is not a sustainable plan for the future.
 
The House Transportation budget includes a modest, nickel a year gas tax, phased-in over four years. Minnesota’s Constitution requires that revenue from this user fee must be dedicated to roads and bridges only. The budget also brings the motor vehicle sales tax in line with all other sales taxes (from 6.5% to 6.875%) and increases the share of this revenue going to transit. Additionally, Minnesotans with older vehicles will see a reduction in tab fees to help offset the cost of the gas tax increase to lower income households. For the first time, Metro Mobility, which provides transportation to our neighbors with disabilities, will receive dedicated funding.
More budget proposals are being rolled out. If you have a specific question about a particular bill, or issue area, I’m happy to get you an answer.
 
Keep in touch, and don’t hesitate to let me know how I can be of assistance.
 
I appreciate your input!
 
Sincerely,
Steve Elkins
State Representative

 

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