ROADS/BRIDGES: Republicans, Democrats spar over how to fund Minn. roads, bridges

Recent plan relies on tax shifting, borrowing

News March 24, 2015
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Lawmakers in Minnesota are at odds over how to bump up transportation spending.
 
On March 23, Republicans raised the curtain on a plan that would generate $7 billion over the next 10 years without increase the state gas tax. Instead, the idea calls for the state to hand over a small portion of a $1.87 billion surplus to the department of transportation and to redirect tax revenue currently being funneled into the general fund. Minnesota also will borrow $2.3 billion.
 
New tax dollars would come from auto part sales, rental vehicles and leases and will form the Transportation Stability Fund.
 
Gov. Mark Dayton would prefer to raise the gax tax—6.5% at the wholesale level—in an effort to fuel an $11 billion plan supported by Democrats.
 
Sen. John Pedersen is having a hard time seeing the logic in the Dayton proposal because of the rising number of energy-efficient vehicles hitting the roads.
 
“We’re driving much more fuel-efficient cars, and people are driving less in general,” said Pedersen. “So quite frankly, any type of gas tax is going to continue to decline and we’re going to be right back here talking about this again.”
 
 

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