Today, the Minnesota Senate passed the Senate Transportation Omnibus Budget Bill.
“This transportation budget remains full of shifts and gimmicks from the Senate Republicans even though my colleagues and I tried to amend it into a budget that would benefit the state of Minnesota,” said Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), DFL Lead of the Transportation Committee. “Transportation is about people accessing opportunities and our economy’s ability to create prosperity. Siphoning general fund resources away from public education, from health care for seniors and the disabled, from property tax relief is irresponsible. Gutting support for transit will profoundly disrupt lives. Unlike other budget areas, transportation has constitutionally dedicated fund streams (that aren’t keeping up) and should be reformed instead of depending on unsustainable shifts.”
In the next 30 years it is estimated that Minnesota will have at least 700,000 new residents. Fifty percent of Minnesota roads are over 50 years old. Minnesota’s state highways and bridges face a $6 billion funding gap over the next 10 years, and $18 billion gap just to maintain the state and local roadway network over the next 20 years.
This budget bill will zero out funding for Metro Transit and Metro Mobility by requiring the Met Council to spend down its reserves without a sustainable, ongoing source of operating revenue. Thousands of Minnesotans depend on Metro Transit and Metro Mobility for their transportation needs for work, school, and recreation. This budget bill will zero out the funding for each of these transit options, which will increase traffic congestion and increase carbon emissions.
Sen. Dibble continues, “Transit systems have been severely underfunded; the bus rapid transit network in the metropolitan area needs to be built out as costs for providing transit service continue to rise each year. These problems will continue to exist and plans should be developed to address the long-term needs of communities throughout the region for transit service as demand returns and the region works to recover from the pandemic.”
Electric vehicle owners already pay a $75 surcharge in lieu of the gas tax along with motor vehicle sales and registration taxes. This budget bill will triple that fee, making it less likely that consumers will want to purchase electric vehicles. Building out Minnesota’s electric vehicle infrastructure will create good-paying jobs, reduce carbon emission, and boost the economy across the state, particularly Minnesota’s rural electric cooperatives.
Sen. Dibble ends, “On a day when we celebrate our Earth, a budget was passed that will increase traffic congestion, increase particulate pollution, increase greenhouse gases, and increase our carbon footprint. We should be protecting our public’s health, our state’s natural resources and creating a lasting legacy for generations to come.”