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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

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Monday, March 30, 2015

ST. PAUL – A new legislative Republican proposal unveiled recently would dedicate $7 billion to road and bridge needs across Minnesota without raising taxes or fees. State Representative Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) said this is good news for greater Minnesota.

"Public interest is at an all-time high when it comes to improving our local roads and highways," Schomacker said. "With the Governor proposing $9 billion over ten years and Republicans proposing $7 billion, transportation infrastructure funding is poised for a record year, which is very good news."

Schomacker said the main difference between Governor Dayton's transportation proposal and the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 is the funding source.

The Governor's proposal raises taxes and fees on Minnesotans by $9 billion in order to send new revenue to transportation. This includes a tax that would ultimately cost drivers a minimum of 16-cents per-gallon more at the pump.

Schomacker said the Road and Bridge Act would provide $7 billion to road and bridge projects, largely by dedicating prioritized finding of roughly $3 billion in revenue from a number of already collected taxes. Under this proposal, 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 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 proposal would also utilize $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 for our road and bridge needs.

Communities with less than 5,000 residents, which are all of the communities in district 22A, would also benefit under the Republican legislation, as $282 million would be dedicated to them in order to improve their streets and local roads. The Governor's proposal does not include this provision.

"The Road and Bridge Act shows that we can reform and take a new approach to funding our state's infrastructure in innovative ways," Schomacker said.