2008 Transportation Bill

highway.jpgThe 2008 Legislative session has seen, for only the 15th time (9 of those in the Ventura administration) since 1939, a gubernatorial veto. The transportation override means there will be new, dedicated funding for transportation maintenance and projects for years to come. We have known for many years that our transportation infrastructure has suffered from increase in use and a lack of maintenance. The collapse of the 35W bridge brought to the forefront a desperate need to address this issue immediately. We believe we have taken whatcars.jpeg is a fiscally sound, major step forward to provide much needed funding that will help address present and future transportation issues. This transportation bill (HF 2800) had wide support from many business, agriculture, labor and environmental groups. Here are some of the details of the bill:

1: The gas tax will increase immediately by 2 cents. This is the first increase in Minnesota in 20 years. On Oct. 1, 2008, the gas tax will again increase by 3 cents. In addition, to help pay off past transportation revenue bonds, there will be a phased in gas surcharge of 3.5 cents by the year 2014. See twincities for more info on projected costs.

2: License tab fee caps are removed and the depreciation schedule is accelerated.

3: There is a proposed 1/4 cent sales tax for the 7 county metro area, which will be dedicated to transit. The 7 counties are Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Dakota, Washington, Anoka, and Carver.

4: A leased motor vehicles sales tax will be dedicated to transportation.

For more info you can go to the House website. How will the transportation bill impact District 25B?

Using the formulas for county and municipal aid, additional aid to each city and county over the next ten years is projected to be as follows:

Northfield: from $495,000 to $1,695,000

Belle Plaine: from $239,000 to $818,000

Scott County: from $5,786,000 to $26,601,000

Rice County: from $3,547,000 to $13,055,000

Many people are unaware that, currently, the largest source of funding for local road and bridge projects is through property tax revenues. Counties, cities and townships have been forced to turn to property tax increases to offset the lack of transportation dollars coming from the State. We intend to reverse that, thereby providing property tax relief.

The DFL plan ensures we will take care of all of our bridges, whether we need to address an aging culvert or the structure of a heavily traveled highway bridge. This is a key portion of the bill, because Minnesota has 13 fracture-critical bridges that score less than 50 on the national sufficiency rating scale. This bill also will be a much-needed shot-in-the-arm for local economies. According to a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) study, this bill is anticipated to create, each year for the next 5 years, 30,000 more jobs.

According to the State’s Legislative Auditor, MnDOT did not have enough money to take care of our roads and bridges. It was going broke. Action is needed now if we are to prevent the number of roads, currently rated in poor conditions, to double over the next three years and to prevent dangerous, rural highways and congested freeways from becoming worse.

Take a moment to view short videos of statements from legislators:

Paul Marquart
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Paul Gardner (recorded in below zero weather) Gardner.jpg  

More information can be found at: West Central Tribune , Timberjay 1 ,or Timberjay 2.

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