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Commentary: Small towns, taxpayers prioritized in House road and bridge funding proposal

With the goal of providing long-term, sustainable revenue for Minnesota’s roads and bridges, House Republicans have brought forward a $7 billion funding proposal that meets our statewide needs without raising anyone’s taxes.

The Road and Bridge Act of 2015 would repurpose roughly $3 billion in revenue that is already being collected from existing sales taxes on auto parts, the Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax, the rental vehicle tax and the sales tax on rental vehicles and place it in a newly created Transportation Stability Fund. From here, that money would be allocated into a number of new areas, including statewide roads and bridges, small city roads, and bus services in Greater Minnesota.

Along with the Transportation Stability Fund revenue, the proposal would also utilize $228 million in General Funds, $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds, $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, and 1.2 billion from realigning Minnesota Department of Transportation resources. To me, one of the most important facets of this legislation is the small cities account that will allow communities with less than 5,000 residents to receive money for transportation projects such as street repair. It was critical for us to get money to towns that have long been overlooked when it comes to receiving state transportation revenue.

Under this House plan, $282 million would be set aside for small town street needs, and another $60 million would be allocated to townships for road and bridge projects.

The other crucial point about this bill that cannot be mentioned enough is that it won’t cost Minneso-tans a dime. This is the complete opposite of Gov-ernor Dayton’s transporta-tion plan, which would increase taxes and fees by $9 billion and ultimately force you to pay at least 16-cents more per gallon at the pump. His plan also has no money available for small town street needs.

I expect the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 to re-ceive a vote in the Minne-sota House in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’m interested in hearing how you think we should provide new revenue for road and bridge projects. Do you favor the House or the governor’s transporta-tion approach? Please call me anytime at 651-296-4265 or send me an email at rep.dave.hancock@house.mn, and share your input.

Rep. Dave Hancock

District 2A

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