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.”
— Connie Bernardy (@conniebernardy) March 31, 2017
“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).
— Peggy Flanagan (@peggyflanagan) March 31, 2017
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.”
— Erin Maye Quade (@ErinMayeQuade) March 31, 2017
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.