Minnesota Senate Bill Transportation Funding Topic

Work continues at the Minnesota State House to approve a comprehensive transportation funding plan.

The Senate Transportation and Finance Committee voted along party lines to advance a bill that would provide more than $5.7 billion for transportation over five years.

Roads and bridges would receive the bulk of the funds – $4.32 billion.

Proponents of the bill tout the funding plan, which relies on federal aid. They point out that the plan does not rely on a fuel tax, kilometer tax, sales tax or increased license fees.

Sales tax on auto parts

Senate bill, SF1154, would also devote 100% of tax revenue from auto parts sales to roads. The amount would total $550 million over the next three years.

The state now pays a fixed portion ($145.6 million per year) of taxes on the sale and purchase of motor vehicle spare parts and repairs to the highway user tax distribution fund. The other half is deposited in the general state fund.

Proponents say applying all tax revenue from auto parts sales to transportation would allow the state to rebuild the state’s transportation infrastructure without raising fuel taxes, tabulation fees, or taxes. of sale.

Senate Transportation and Finance Committee Chairman Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said the state has “a lot of money” to apply to transportation without having to ask Minnesotans to pay more.

Newman adds that billions have been injected into transport infrastructure since 2017.

“This bill will allow Minnesota to continue to create a world-class transportation system without new gas taxes, tab fees or mileage taxes,” Newman said in a press release.

SF1154 would provide $280 million in 2022-23 to secure the state’s share of federal transportation funding allocated by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.

Minnesota’s funding share is expected to reach $5.7 billion over the next five years.

State and local projects would benefit

The bill would make available an additional $982.98 million for national highways and bridges, $154.5 million for trade corridors, $303.59 million for county highways, $79.75 million $69.1 million for municipal highways, $69.1 million for urban roads and $69 million for assistance to small towns.

A portion of the auto parts sales tax revenue would be earmarked for road and bridge grants to cities and townships.

Currently, the city’s road account receives annual funding of 1.5% of all tax distributions to highway users. The Small Towns Aid Account receives no dedicated funding.

Critics say the bill falls short

Senate Democrats say the budget bill “is woefully insufficient” to meet the needs of the state’s transportation system. They say the bill would limit the state’s ability to access federal funds for infrastructure upgrades, block investments needed to prepare for electric vehicles, and ignore efforts to mitigate climate change.

“Reducing emissions in our transportation sector is key to fighting climate change. It is now or never to do so, and we cannot afford to leave money on the table to achieve this goal,” read a press release from the Senate Democrat. “Unfortunately, (SF1154) would almost guarantee that we fall even further behind.” LL

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Norman D. Briggs