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A smooth trip through committee for transportation policy bill

Rep. Kristin Robbins holds up her cell phone to allow Orono High School freshman Makena Prevost to testify remotely March 21 on an amendment to the transportation policy bill. Rep. Brad Tabke, left, sponsors the bill. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)
Rep. Kristin Robbins holds up her cell phone to allow Orono High School freshman Makena Prevost to testify remotely March 21 on an amendment to the transportation policy bill. Rep. Brad Tabke, left, sponsors the bill. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)

Planes, trains and automobiles all fall under the jurisdiction of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee. And so could flying cars.

Provisions that would allow licensing of vehicles that can travel on air and roads while making it a misdemeanor to take off or land on a public road are included in the transportation policy bill. It also includes scores of provisions, including several added by amendment, that would clarify and amend laws covering car seats, parking tickets, train derailments, transit programs and more.

Sponsored by Rep. Brad Tabke (DFL-Shakopee), HF3436, as amended, was approved on a voice vote Thursday and is headed to the House Floor.  

House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee 3/21/24

The bill has a lot of moving parts, Tabke said, and he appreciates the hard work put in by staff members and elected officials in putting it together.

Similarly, Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) said he appreciates the work Tabke did to create a bipartisan bill and address concerns raised in hearings. “This is the way we should work on legislation.”

The bill has many proposals sought by the Transportation and Public Safety departments.

MnDOT Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger believes the proposed legislation will help the department operate more efficiently. She highlighted provisions that would ensure trunk highway bond funds get to intended projects and that would remove a prohibition on using highway user tax distribution funds or trunk highway funds on electric vehicle infrastructure that would help the state access federal funds.


Speaking to the committee by phone Makena Prevost, an Orono High School freshman, explained a proposed tweak to legislation she brought forth last year. The 2023 law allows caretakers to list people they are responsible for so law enforcement officers can check on the vulnerable adults and children. The form to sign up proved popular with 200 enrollees in the first year, but it allowed caretakers to list only three people.

The House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee takes up amendments Thursday before approving the committee’s policy bill. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)

An amendment successfully offered Rep. Kristin Robbins (R-Maple Grove) would remove that limit.

Prevost said the change will work for families and for law enforcement, and she hopes to promote the so-called “Minnesota Caregivers Law” to other states.

Other amendments successfully added would require a Minnesota State Fair transportation plan without a 100% increase in transit user requirement, prohibit the towing of cars solely because of parking tickets, and reduce the length of a traffic safety course for those 55 and older from 8 hours to 4 hours.

Among other provisions, the bill would:

  • increase optional MnDOT contracting preferences for small businesses and veteran-owned businesses;
  • authorize colocation of high-voltage transmission lines across or along highways;
  • add teardrop trailer to the definition of recreational vehicles;
  • separate deputy registrars and kiosk operators with regards to driver’s license stations;
  • clarify that congressionally chartered veteran’s organizations have the same access to special plates as its members;
  • revise evidence of identity and date of birth on REAL ID;
  • allow sharing of lease information to a dealer to expediate a vehicle sale;
  • clarify railroad employees should call 911 and not have to contact the fire chief directly in a hazardous substance spill;
  • allow disaster aid to be used for roads in some cases;
  • let 18-year-olds transport petroleum even when it has been divided into smaller containers; and
  • make conforming changes on Hwy. 123 turnback in Pine County and establish Route No. 341 in Sandstone.


What’s in the bill?

The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the transportation policy bill:

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