Minnesota House and Senate Republican leaders announced their transportation plan on Monday.
House Transportation Committee chair Tim Kelly (R- Red Wing) says the plan will invest $7 billion in transportation without raising the gas tax. It shifts $3.078 billion from existing revenue streams such as rental car taxes and auto part taxes and dedicates them to transportation.
$1.3 billion will come from Trunk Highway bonds and $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds.
“Realigning” Minnesota Department of Transportation resources would provide $1.2 billion and $228 million would come from general funds.
In general, Republicans have said they oppose Governor Mark Dayton’s plan to impose a wholesale gas tax to provide a protected revenue stream for repairing and building Minnesota roads and bridges and would rather pay for it with general fund tax revenue.
Asked what will need to be cut from existing programs to pay for their plan, Republicans said that they will be laying out their budget targets on Tuesday.
DFL says GOP plan siphons school money for transportation
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen called the Republican plan “the same old shifts and gimmicks budgeting we’ve come to expect from them. Siphoning money from schools and hospitals and relying on the state’s credit card is no way to fund Minnesota’s transportation system. This is a ‘Give the Deficits Back’ Act.”
Thissen says the Republican plan uses hundreds of millions of tax dollars that the DFL wants to target for better schools.
“The next economic downturn could be around the corner, and if we use general fund tax dollars to fund transportation projects then we are hurting our schools, hospitals and other basic priorities in the future,” said Thissen in a press release. “Investments in Minnesota’s transportation systems shouldn’t compete with our kids’ education.”