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Letter: Common sense approach to transportation funding

Every year there are bills that propose new ways of funding transportation, and this year is no different. Over the last several decades Minnesota has been well served by an approach that links gas, motor vehicle registration and motor vehicle sales taxes to the construction, maintenance and safety of our public roads, affirmed by the 2006 Transportation Amendment approved by 57 percent of Minnesotans. The distribution of transportation revenues is based upon need, which tends to benefit rural counties as we have more roads per capita that require more state funds than we generate. And urban people use our roads so it seems fair. The system has worked and has been considered one of the nation's more orderly, reliable, and fair approaches to addressing the transportation needs of the people. It incorporates the

compromises that are essential in a working democracy.

Some of the proposals since 2006 have taken highway funds and redirected them elsewhere (ex: bicycle trails). Other proposals seek to take other funds and direct them to highway funding (ex: Rep. Green's H.F. 698 Legacy Fund transfer). Other proposals pit rural against urban (ex: H.F. 418 prohibiting Metro Council from mass transit projects, or current efforts to preempt urban

counties from light rail planning). These proposals appear to be driven by political interests rather than a thoughtful balanced approach to addressing Minnesota's transportation needs. They get in the way of the kind of policy making that has made Minnesota one of the top three states in the


Some of my earliest life lessons included guiding statements like "use common sense" or "if it isn't broken, don't fix it." Nothing special, nothing complicated, just good stuff. We will be better served if the people we elect go back to the basics, sit down together, and serve the