The Transportation supplemental omnibus proposal passed the full Senate this week as part of the State Government Finance omnibus bill. The omnibus provides almost half a billion dollars from the general fund to the transportation sector. The bill provides numerous state aid matches to ensure Minnesota holds up its end of the deal to receive federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs (IIJA) Act signed by President Biden last year.
Unfortunately, the proposal will hamstring Minnesota’s ability to benefit from competitive grants in the IIJA because it limits the ability for state matching funds to be used for electric vehicle infrastructure on our roadways. This Republican-proposed limitation would put us at a competitive disadvantage to receive $200 billion in competitive funds.
The bill also dramatically increases electric vehicle taxes from $75 per year to $229 for all-electric vehicles and adds a new $114.50 tax on hybrid vehicles. This would make Minnesota an outlier in taxing EVs, unfairly punish EV drivers, and fail to incentivize drivers to convert to more climate-friendly vehicles.
The proposal ignores the need to combat climate change and convert to clean energy sources in other ways by cutting the operating budget of the Met Council, which runs Metro Transit, by $10 million every ongoing year and creates numerous restrictions on planning new and existing light rail lines, bus rapid transit corridors, and other modes of transit.
At a time when more and more consumers are choosing electric vehicles, Minnesota needs to be ready to meet this need. The Republican transportation proposal would put us on the wrong track, jeopardize our ability to benefit from federal infrastructure funds, and does nothing to prioritize transit and alternative modes of transportation. (HF 4293)