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Governor Mark Dayton this week took a strong position in opposition to the gas tax which makes it very difficult to balance a sales tax increase for transit with any new funding for roads.
(Published Apr 12, 2013)
The House and Senate Transportation committees heard and laid over omnibus funding bills this week without any new money for roads or transit. Transportation funding packages traditionally need to be balanced with new funding for both roads and transit to get enough support for passage. To the disappointment of many transportation advocates, Governor Mark Dayton this week took a strong position in opposition to the gas tax which makes it very difficult to balance a sales tax increase for transit with any new funding for roads.
The Senate bill was much more bare bones than the House bill but both did restore transit operational funding for the Met Council to the base amount of $129 million for the biennium. The Governor had included a $46 million cut to the transit base but had offset it with his transit sales tax increase. The House and Senate bills do not include any cuts to transit operations.
The House bill included $20 million for the Transportation Economic Development (TED) account which is for transportation improvement projects with a positive economic development impact and $100,000 for a comprehensive transitway study from the Met Council on how we can accelerate the buildout of our transit system in the metro area. The House bill also expands county authority to impose a $10 wheelage tax to all counties and allows an increase up to $20 per vehicle starting in 2018.
The House is scheduled to discuss amendments and pass the bill out of committee on Monday, April 15, but the Senate bill was laid over and has no future meeting scheduled to make any modifications or further it along in the process.
The Senate bill in its current form over spends its spending target by $17 million which will need to be fixed either in the Transportation committee or require increasing state revenue by $17 million or making $17 million in cuts to another budget which would have to be made at the leadership level. The deadline for finance bills is next Friday, April 19, and all spending bills are supposed to be through the committee process by then and ready for passage off of the House and Senate floor.
Links to the bills and spreadsheets are below.
Questions? Contact Anne Finn at email@example.com or at (651) 281-1263.
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