On Tuesday evening, the Senate Transportation and Finance Committee advanced their omnibus budget bill on a party-line vote. The legislation, S.F. 1154, falls woefully short of addressing the needs of Minnesota’s transportation network by restricting the ability of Minnesota to access federal funds for infrastructure upgrades, blocks investments necessary to prepare for electric vehicles, exacerbates inequality, and ignores efforts to mitigate climate change.
In response, committee lead Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), Senator Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan), Senator Jen McEwen (DFL-Duluth), and Senator Ann Johnson Stewart (DFL-Minnetonka) released the following statement:
“Despite a historic opportunity to transform Minnesota’s transportation network thanks to our significant budget surplus and generational funding from the federal government, today’s bill fails to address the needs in our state and even sets us back.
“Instead of taking advantage of the opportunity before us, our colleagues have made their priorities clear by earmarking specific pet projects and ignoring our state needs. Despite our attempts to improve the bill, the majority blocked our efforts to leverage more federal dollars, prepare for the transition to electric cars, and to address inequities that have been ignored for far too long.
“Reducing emissions in our transportation sector is critical to addressing climate change. It is now or never to get this done, and we cannot afford to leave dollars on the table towards this goal. Unfortunately, today’s bill would all but guarantee we fall further behind.
“With the remaining time in the legislative session, we will work with our colleagues in the House and Governor Walz to push Senate Republicans towards a transportation bill that looks toward the future, not the past.”