The road to transportation improvements in Minnesota hit a bump Friday when Gov. Mark Dayton slammed a Republican proposal to pay for maintenance projects without using new revenue, calling it "fantasy."
A bill House Republicans introduced this week calls for using money from the state budget surplus, state highway funds, and "efficiency savings" within the Transportation Department to cover the cost of needed maintenance work on roads and bridges.
In firing a rhetorical broadside at the plan, Dayton said it's "not a solution," adding "... it demonstrates that they don’t understand the problem, and they certainly don’t have any serious interest in finding a real solution,” the Star Tribune says.
As MPR News reports, 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 a Transportation Department study said is needed over 10 years.
Republicans say their plan would raise $750 million over four years. But Dayton dismissed the GOP proposal as unworthy of discussion, saying that by comparing the plans "you're talking English and pig Latin," the Pioneer Press reports.
WCCO says Dayton spent nearly 45 minutes criticizing the Republican plan.
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New House Speaker Kurt Daudt was undeterred by Dayton's remarks, WCCO says, and issued a statement that said in part:
“I’m disappointed in Gov. Dayton’s tone today, but I’m going to keep working on him. I will win him over because I believe we can work together to solve the problems Minnesotans care about.”
MinnPost notes that while Dayton was in a feisty mood on transportation issues, he also slammed the Minneapolis Park Board for filing a legal challenge that's pushing back the timeframe for the Southwest light rail transit project. Dayton worried the delay will cause the project to lose federal funding, MinnPost says.