There’s been widespread agreement that the Legislature should put more money into transportation. There’s even broad agreement on where much of the money should go. And Saturday, members of the conference committee on the transportation finance bill announced an agreement about where the money should come from.
Sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. D. Scott Dibble (DFL-Mpls) the agreement to an amended HF2887 calls for a 50-cent fee on deliveries more than $100, would index the gas tax to inflation, and increase the metro area sales tax by 0.75% with the new funds going mostly for transit.
Additionally, it would authorize a total of $8.8 billion to the Department of Transportation and Department of Public safety from all funds. This includes a net appropriation of $1.1 billion from the General Fund in the next biennium for transportation. It would also authorize nearly $600 million from proceeds of trunk highway bonds for roads and bridges.
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“Today, we will introduce a historic, generational investment in transportation that will create jobs, build the economy, improve roadway safety, address the climate crisis, and serve all Minnesotans,” Hornstein and Dibble said in a joint statement. “The budget will make strategic investments in transportation and transit systems across the state, which will enable Minnesota to fix its crumbling road and bridge system and create a modern transit system. After years of underfunding transportation, this investment will provide the long-term support we need to keep transit afloat.”
Other transportation funding increases would come from registration fee modifications and gradual reallocation of auto parts sales taxes over the next 10 years.
The bill first approved by the House proposed 75-cent delivery fee on most deliveries and the Senate bill had a 0.5% metro sales tax increase. Neither had proposed a gas tax increase.
Among the new spending from the General Fund would be:
The agreement takes language from the House and Senate bills to address transit rider safety concerns by requiring the Metropolitan Council to establish a code of conduct. A Transit Rider Investment Program would enforce rules, offer customer service with personnel able to issue citations and act as social services liaisons.
Many provisions of the Bill Dooley Bicycle Safety Act are included. They would require schools teach bicycle and pedestrian safety, create an active transportation advisory committee and allow a so-called “Idaho stop” at stop signs, where cyclists aren’t required to make a complete, foot-down stop. A full stop would continue to be required at stoplights.
Other provisions would: