From: Rep. Steve Drazkowski
R - Mazeppa
With the bipartisan, Minnesota House approval of the Road and Bridge Act – the major component of a new approach to funding road and bridge needs in our state – the Minnesota House has shown it will listen to the needs of Greater Minnesota and act accordingly.
The overall plan would dedicate $7 billion to our road and bridge needs without raising taxes. Much of that comes from reallocating tax dollars that are already being collected for transportation related purposes and using that revenue to improve our infrastructure. Trunk highway and general obligation bonds, general funds, and the realignment of Minnesota Department of Transportation resources also would help fund our road and bridge needs.
Included in this bill is a provision I chief-authored which would provide state transportation funding for small cities in Minnesota. This idea was presented to me by the mayors of Elba and Minneiska, and I was happy to act on their behalf.
Today, cities with more than 5,000 residents are constitutionally provided state transportation aid. My provision would allow towns under 5,000 – which impacts every city in our legislative district – to be treated equally.
To see how much aid your town could receive under the Republican transportation approach, check out these estimates compiled by our non-partisan House research staff:
Pine Island: $86,186
Cannon Falls: $101,197
West Concord: $29,088
Zumbro Falls: $19,484
St. Charles: $100,665
Minnesota City: $20,559
Our plan also provides $1.44 billion for county roads and $60 million for township roads and bridges.
Contrast our approach with the unpopular Governor Dayton transportation proposal, which would increase taxes and fees on Minnesotans by more than $9 billion, including a measure that would cost the price of a gallon of gasoline to rise by a minimum of 16 cents.
The basic differences are this: Governor Dayton wants to raise taxes on Minnesota’s drivers in the face of a projected $2 billion over-collection of taxpayer dollars. We don’t.
The governor wants to spend billions more on light rail. We oppose this because people in Greater Minnesota are paying for this want and not benefiting from it.
The governor wants to send more money to the Mn/DOT bureaucracy. We want to get more money directly to communities by focusing on local roads and bridges.
The governor’s solution to any issue is to tax, tax, tax. With this new approach, House Republican are using some common sense, as well as available funds, to meet our long-term road and bridge needs.