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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kurt Daudt (R)

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Will repair or replace 15,500 lane miles and 330 bridges without a tax increase

ST. PAUL, MN—On Monday, House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), Senate Republican Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers), House Transportation Committee Chairman Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) and Senate Transportation Committee Lead John Pederson (R-St. Cloud) unveiled their comprehensive, future-oriented proposal for transportation in Minnesota: the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 (House File 4). The Republican plan invests $7 billion more over the next decade without raising taxes. The ten-year approach prioritizes road and bridge infrastructure through:

  • Immediate repair of roads in Minnesota communities.
  • Highway improvements for commuters and commerce.
  • Reliable, long-term funding without raising taxes.

“Minnesota families rely on our road and bridge infrastructure to get their kids to school and themselves to work. To help them, our goal from the beginning was to refocus transportation dollars on roads and bridges and deliver a real, long-term solution without increasing their tax burden. I’m proud today to unveil our vision for the next decade that achieves our shared goal,” announced Speaker Daudt.

"Republicans have developed a thoughtful solution to adequately maintain and expand our road and bridge infrastructure without raising gas taxes, because Minnesotans can’t afford to pay more at the pump. Our proposal will benefit small cities, rural areas, suburban communities, and elderly and disabled Minnesotans while also making significant commitments to state roads,” said Senate Republican Leader Hann.

“Most Minnesotans count on safe roads and short commutes every day, and our plan focuses on those daily needs. It fills potholes and repairs streets in their neighborhoods and will alleviate congestion on Minnesota roads. Now, Minnesotans have a choice between smart budgeting that dedicates existing transportation taxes to roads and bridges without a tax increase and a plan that raises the gas tax by at least 16 cents per gallon,” added House Majority Leader Peppin.

The Road and Bridge Act of 2015 creates a special fund called the Transportation Stability Fund that collects existing proceeds from dedicated tax revenues and deposits them into accounts for each of their dedicated purpose. There are five accounts that would dedicate a combined $3.078 billion over ten years:

  1. Road and Bridge Account – revenue from existing sales tax on auto parts
  2. Metro Capital Improvements Account – revenue from existing sales tax on rental vehicles
  3. Small Cities Account – revenue from existing rental vehicle tax
  4. Greater Minnesota Bus Services Account – revenue from 50% of existing Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax
  5. Suburban County Highway Account – revenue from 50% of existing Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax

In addition to the dedicated funds provided by the Transportation Stability Fund, the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 uses $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, $1.2 billion from realigning Minnesota Department of Transportation resources, $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds, and $228 million in General Funds.

“Our plan is supported by reliable, dedicated resources without raising taxes. The new Transportation Stability Fund is a future-oriented approach to dedicated funding that relies on steady revenue from existing taxes instead of the antiquated and unstable approach of raising the gas tax,” said Chairman Kelly.

Over the next ten years, the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 prioritizes repairing or replacing 15,500 lane miles for all roads and 330 bridges statewide.

"Our proposal increases funding for roads and bridges by $7 billion over the next ten years without taking more money out of working families’ checkbooks. Now Gov. Dayton and Democrats need to show they are willing to hear solutions that don't include raising the gas tax. It's time to work together to prioritize transportation,” concluded Senator Pederson.