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Governor Dayton's proposed budget for the 2014-15 biennium lacks a permanent funding increase for transportation infrastructure.
(Published Jan 23, 2013)
Last year, Governor Mark Dayton created the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee, a 19-member panel composed of legislators, agency heads, business and the investment community, an economist, a union representative and representatives from city and county government. The group was charged with analyzing potential revenue sources and non-traditional approaches to transportation funding and financing as well as identifying opportunities for public-private partnerships to invest in transportation improvements. The group identified 13 transportation funding mechanisms that could be implemented or, in some cases, expanded to fill a growing gap between transportation infrastructure needs and available revenues.
Transportation advocates were disappointed to see that the governor’s budget proposal released this week incorporates just two of the funding mechanisms identified: a dedicated sales tax for transit and $20 million in Transportation Economic Development (TED) grants.
Although the funds provided by the sources in the governor’s budget are needed, they may face uphill battles in the Legislature. Early indications are that a sales tax increase that is not established on an opt-in basis by local units of government may be unpopular. Further, the TED program is funded with bonds, and there is a strong possibility that the 2013 session will not yield a bonding bill.
For cities, the omission of permanent funding increases for roads and bridges is problematic. The governor’s budget does not include increases to the funding mechanisms that fund municipal state aid, nor does it provide new revenues for local roads. In the weeks ahead, the League and other transportation advocates will work to persuade the governor and legislators that local roads and bridges are essential to a strong economy.
Questions? Contact Anne Finn at (651) 281-1263 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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