The Senate’s transportation funding package was introduced and discussed in the Transportation and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.
According to the Governor’s Transportation Finance Advisory Committee (TFAC), 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. 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.
The Senate legislation increases revenue for transportation funding to just under $800 million.
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: Increases the annual fee Minnesotans pay to register and drive their cars on Minnesota’s roads
- Metro Area Sales Tax: Applies a ¾ -cent rate across the 5 county metro area
- Trunk Highway Bonds: authorizes the sale $1.001 billion in 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 wisely
- Establishes a public-private partnership pilot program for transportation projects
The Senate plan offers a comprehensive and balanced proposal that meets the needs of a growing state, helps alleviate pressure on an aging system, continues to maintain our existing system, and provides resources across the state to much needed transit projects. The House proposal includes $750 million in one-time money spread out over the next four years, with no new funding after.
Despite the big numbers, it is critical for Minnesota to ensure our transportation system continues to connect people to where they need to be. Students need to be able to access educational opportunities, seniors need to remain vital and vibrant in their communities, businesses need to get products from factories to markets, and Minnesotans need transportation options when getting to and from work. These transportation goals will only get more expensive and difficult without added investments in our system.
The legislation will be heard again in the Transportation and Public Safety Committee on Friday, and is expected to change. These are the some of the major provisions found in the bill; some other elements may not have been covered. (S.F. 87)