A 10-cent-per-gallon gas-tax increase, to cover costs of roads, bridges and transit, is en route to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty following a recent vote in the State Senate, the St. Cloud Times reported. The measure, if it became law, would place a total 30-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline sold in the state.
However, the 36-31 party-line vote sends the bill to a governor who has publicly stated his opposition to the tax increase. The proposed boost, the first in the gasoline tax in Minnesota since 1988, would raise about $320 million a year. Transportation specialists estimate Minnesota has an unmet need for transportation funding of $1 billion a year.
The bill also includes an increase on the fee for license tabs on higher-value new vehicles, a wheelage tax allowing counties to charge up to $20 on each motor vehicle weighing more than 26,000 lb, and a dedication of part of the state sales tax paid in the metro area to metro transit. The bill also proposes a constitutional amendment to dedicate 100% of motor vehicle sales tax revenues to state roads and transit. About half of that money now goes to the state’s general fund.