Do you know of a highway in Minnesota that needs fixing? If so, it's probably on Gov. Mark Dayton's list of roads that would be repaired under the $6 billion roads and bridges plan he released Tuesday.
More specifically, the list includes 2,200 miles of state roads and 330 bridges slated for repairs, replacement or expansion over the next 10 years, in just about every corner of the state.
You can also explore them on this interactive map from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Dayton has proposed a 6.5 percent sales tax on gasoline at the wholesale level and higher license tab fees to raise the $6 billion that transportation officials say is necessary over the next decade to catch up on projects that have been delayed for years.
The governor had laid out his transportation plan earlier, but this time he got very specific with the list of roads and bridges that would be fixed if it's approved.
And Republicans cried foul over that tactic, saying Dayton was trying to "buy" votes in the Legislature with specific projects in so many areas of the state, the Pioneer Press reports.
Typically, governors and lawmakers decide on how much to spend first, and leave the decisions on specific projects up to transportation experts to choose.
"We're trying to make it specific so that people can say: "Yeah, if we are willing to increase our investment, we're going to get some results," Dayton said, according to the Pioneer Press.
Rep. Tim Kelly, Republican chair of the House Transportation committee, said Dayton's tactics are disingenuous.
“The governor is promising everything to everyone with these projects, it’s like it’s Christmas all over again,” Kelly said, according to the Star Tribune.
House Republicans proposed a much more modest transportation plan: $750 million over the next four years, without raising taxes.
Their bill calls for using money from the state budget surplus and state highway funds, as well as finding and implementing “certain efficiencies” in MnDOT, to cover the cost of needed maintenance work on roads and bridges.
MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle said about half of Minnesota’s roads are now more than 50 years old, and 40 percent of the states’ bridges are over 40 years old, and the large investment proposed by the governor is necessary.
A few of the biggest projects on Dayton's list are:
- Rebuilding Interstate 94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul
- Widening I-94 between St. Michael and Albertville
- Widening Hwy. 14 in Mankato to four lanes and upgrading six bridges
- Reworking the junction of I-35W and I-494