MN GOP Lawmakers Celebrate Roads and Bridges Act, DFL Upset

Members of the Minnesota House passed their version of the transportation bill Friday afternoon.

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Image Credit: Alpha News MN/Preya Samsundar

 

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Lawmakers usually have their Friday’s off as part of constituent services. However, lawmakers spent Friday listening and ultimately passing a multi-billion dollar transportation finance omnibus bill.

Rep. Paul Torkenson (R-Hanaska), the author of the bill said in a released statement, “By using existing resources and a portion of the $1.6 billion budget surplus, we can provide this core function of government – roads and bridges – for every resident of our state.”

“Governor Dayton and legislative Democrats want to raise the gas tax on all Minnesotans, but that’s a hard sell when our state has a $1.6 billion surplus. Put simply: we can fix our roads and bridges without raising taxes,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said.

Rep. Eric Lucero (R-Dayton) celebrated the passage of the bill on Facebook stating, “The Minnesota Road & Bridge Act passed off the House Floor minutes ago which includes $2 billion funding over the next two years WITHOUT RAISING TAXES!!”

While the bill passed with bipartisan support, 76-54, several lawmakers shared their displeasure with aspects of the bill and the bill in general.

Describing the reaction of a democratic lawmaker, Lucero wrote, “Light rail gets eviscerated in this bill, especially Southwest Light Rail.”

Rep. Connie Bernardy (D-Fridley), quoted a tweet of the MN House DFL Communications Director stating, “let’s work to develop a transportation system that serves all Minnesotans.”

“House Republicans’ 40% cut to bus service hurts our community members who rely on public transportation. Minnesotans deserve better,” wrote Rep. Peggy Flanagan (D-St. Louis Park).

Rep. Erin Maye Quade (D-Apple Valley) wrote, “The Transportation Omnibus doesn’t address the need. And it outright hurts our community. We need a plan that benefits ALL of MN.”

Minnesota House Republicans praised their efforts of not raising the gas tax while creating a $6 billion investment into roads and bridges over the next decade.

According to the Tax Foundation, Minnesota was ranked #25 in 2016 in a state gas taxes. The gas tax sat at 28.60 cents a gallon.

The bill is now headed to conference committee.

 

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