Hoping lawmakers can finally come to an agreement, Gov. Mark Dayton Monday outlined two proposals to fund the state's failing roads and bridges.
Both Republicans and Democrats have said funding transportation fixes is one of their top priorities this session, but they haven't been able to agree on how to pay for it (which is the same thing that happened last year, and nothing substantial got passed).
DFL leaders had proposed raising the wholesale gas tax (among other moves), while the GOP suggested in part using existing state revenue.
"If we continue to avoid these problems, they will only get worse. It's time to begin to solve them. I urge the Legislature to work with me this session to begin to repair and improve Minnesota's transportation systems," Dayton said in a news release.
The governor's proposals come in the final week of the legislative session. Legislators have until 12:01 a.m. on May 23 to wrap things up, but they’ve said they can’t address other issues until they agree on a comprehensive transportation package.
What's in the governor's proposals
Here's a look at Dayton's proposals, which he calls a "significant compromise":
One proposal includes a 5-cent gas tax increase, while the second does not. Both proposals would increase license tab fees and use existing money from the state's general fund. (See a detailed breakdown of the plans here.)
Without gas tax hike, license tab fees would go up – and by a lot. Under Dayton's second proposal, tabs on a new $30,000 car would cost $509 in the first year, up from the $385 they are now. Over 11 years, the total fees would be $3,531, up from $2,198. (See a breakdown of the fees here.)
Both proposals would also raise the sales tax in metro-area counties by a half-cent in order to fund public transportation in the Twin Cities, the release says.
Dayton says the two proposals would each generate $600 million a year for roads and bridges and create an estimated 119,000 new jobs.
The governor presented his plans to party leaders Monday morning. House Speaker Kurt Daudt said the proposals are still not to where they can agree, but we're "optimistic that we're moving in the right direction."