The Senate transportation finance bill, a comprehensive bill to address Minnesota’s transportation needs, was released this week. The legislation increases revenue for transportation funding to just under $800 million, with an additional $567 million for local roads and bridges through General Obligation (G.O.) bonds.
According to the Governor’s Transportation Finance Advisory Committee, the state is projected to have a $21.2 billion dollar funding gap over the next 20 years for our transportation system just to maintain the status quo, and a $54.6 billion shortfall if we want to compete internationally. In fact, adjusted for inflation, MnDOT is at the same level of funding today as it was in 1997, even as Minnesota has grown in population and as our transportation network has aged.
The plan provides dedicated revenue for transportation through several methods:
- Gross Receipts Tax: Implements a sales tax on gas at the wholesale level at a rate of 6.5%
- Vehicle Registration Tax Changes: Modestly increases the annual fee Minnesotans pay to register and drive their cars on Minnesota’s roads
- Motor Vehicle Lease Tax and Greater Minnesota Transit: Brings $32 million in transportation revenues to Greater Minnesota Transit, and suburban and metro counties
- Metro Area Sales Tax: Applies a one-cent rate across the 7 county metro area, raising $251.3 million in 2016 (For the average metro resident, an average of $1.30 a week)
- General obligation bonds: $567 million for local road and bridge repair and replacement, as well as rail grade and crossing improvements
- Trunk Highway Bonds: $800 million for Corridors of Commerce ($200 million/year for four years) and $200 million ($50 million/year for four years) for Transportation Economic Development
- Efficiencies in MnDOT: Continues to ensure that transportation funding is spent efficiently
- Establishes a public-private partnership pilot program for transportation projects
- Total New Revenue Generated: $796 million in 2016
The Senate legislation prioritizes road and bridge repair, expands economic corridors across the state, and increases the ability of all Minnesotans to get where they need to go in rural, suburban, and metro areas. (S.F. 87)