ST. PAUL, Minn. – Gov. Mark Dayton today reiterated his call for a long-term, sustainable transportation funding bill. Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) released the following statement in support of the Governor’s position:
“The Governor’s indication today that he will not support anything less than a sufficient transportation funding package that serves all Minnesotans is good news. A comprehensive bill that makes sure everyone has access to opportunities, regardless of the circumstances of their lives, is vital. The Senate, House, and Governor seem to agree on the need for long-term transportation funding and I am eager to work toward a solution in conference committee.
“Before moving forward, we need to come to an agreement about the use of general fund dollars versus new revenue. While the Senate remains open to using both new and existing dollars for our roads, bridges, and transit, we will not be part of the political maneuvering aimed at ‘starving out’ the general fund. The general fund supports vital services for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens – public education, public safety, health care for seniors and those with disabilities, and local government aid are just a few of the priorities that would be ‘starved’. We will not fund transportation on the backs of schoolchildren, older Minnesotans, and people with disabilities.
“Leaving any Minnesotan behind is not acceptable. Refusal to spend state dollars on transit projects is just another manifestation of short-sighted, pennywise and pound foolish thinking. We know smart transit investments are important to meet the needs of a growing – and aging – population, along with the demands of our emerging workforce. Even a modest increase in transit spending has a return on investment of six to 10 billion dollars. It’s time we understand that transit is a necessity.”