MnDOT: Minnesota's transportation system faces 'perfect storm'


Minnesota Department of Transportation commissioner Charles Zelle told legislators Tuesday afternoon "a perfect storm is coming" in transportation funding, as revenues cannot keep up with the costs associated with building and maintaining the state's roads, bridges and transit systems, FOX 9 reports..

MnDOT recently announced a plan to spend $18 billion on highways and bridges over the next 20 years, even though the state has $30 billion in needs.

Move MN, a coalition of transportation advocates, wants the Legislature to help fill the gap by dramatically increasing transportation funding. The group laid out four proposals to raise that money during a joint House and Senate transportation committee meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The Associated Press reports the group's plan is expected to be one of several transportation proposals that lawmakers will consider.

Move MN's proposals include:

1. A 5 percent sales tax on fuel in Minnesota to generate $360 million annually

2. Three-quarter cent sales tax increase in seven-county Twin Cities area to generate $335 million annually

3. $16 million for bike and pedestrian infrastructure

4. Sales tax on leased vehicles to generate $32 million annually

"Minnesota has a transportation problem," Move MN said, because the cost of maintaining roads and transit systems is higher than the amount of money coming in -- and that hurts the state's economy. "Investments in transportation mean jobs, economic development and a better quality of life for every Minnesotan," it said.

Move MN is a coalition of dozens of groups representing cities, unions, environmental activists and health advocates. Although it is pushing for more funding, Move MN hasn't yet said how it thinks that money should be raised.

Lawmakers last passed a comprehensive transportation funding package in 2008, the year after the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis brought the issue of deficient roads and bridges to a head.

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