A party showdown over the much-discussed gas tax will soon come to a head.
The Republican-controlled Senate passed a transportation bill Wednesday that does not include any increase in the gas tax - a funding mechanism Gov. Tim Walz has been pushing for.
That sets up a coming showdown with the DFL-controlled House, which on Monday passed its own version of a transportation bill. It includes a 20-cent hike on the gas tax, to be phased in over the next four years.
This has been one of the hot-button issues of the Legislative session. And considering the House and Senate have to pass identical bills in order to send it to Walz's desk for a signature, something will have to give.
The Senate DFL, after Wednesday's vote, accused Senate Republicans of playing "political games." In a statement, they pointed out Minnesota's roads and bridges are in rough shape, the state's fuel tax revenue lags behind most other states, and that fixing them will take a serious funding commitment.
Republicans have pushed back, arguing the needed funding for fixes can be found without raising the gas tax, and without increasing the license tab fee or sales tax.
The Senate-approved bill however does raise annual fees for electric (from $75 to $200) and plug-in hybrid (nothing to $100) vehicles in the state.
There are now just a few weeks left in the Legislative session for lawmakers and the governor to get this all sorted out and come to an agreement.
Earlier this week we took a look at how much a gas tax hike would actually cost Minnesotan commuters. You can read that here.