With more than a $1 billion surplus, we shouldn't be raising taxes on anything – especially gas taxes.
That's why the Minnesota House of Representatives addressed our long-term transportation finance needs by approving legislation providing $7 billion in new funding for roads and bridges over the next ten years without raising taxes.
As part of the new approach to fund roads and bridges, the sales tax on auto parts, the Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax, the rental vehicle tax, and the sales tax on rental cars would be filtered into a newly created Transportation Stability Fund. From here, the money would be used to upgrade statewide roads and bridges, small city street projects, Greater Minnesota bus services, metro area capital improvements, and suburban county highways.
The remainder of the proposal would also utilize trunk highway and general obligation bonds, general funds, and realign Minnesota Department of Transportation resources to help fund our road and bridge needs.
Any town with fewer than 5,000 residents would also benefit from the proposal, as the new Small Cities account would provide those communities with funds to help complete street repair projects. Depending on the size of the town and the number of lane miles within it, this could mean anywhere from $20,000 to $106,000 in new revenue for Waseca, Blue Earth, and Watonwan County communities that haven't been receiving a nickel in state aid for transportation projects. This makes more sense than spending millions more on light rail wants in the Metro Area.
Let's hope the Senate and Governor Dayton will come around to our way of thinking in 2016 so we can improve more roads and bridges in this state.