Comprehensive proposal would fund roads, bridges and transit across Minnesota, and create 119,000 new jobs
Governor Dayton announces his proposal for a straightforward, honest solution to fix Minnesota’s aging transportation systems.
For years, state leaders have failed to adequately fund Minnesota’s highways, roads, bridges, and public transit systems. Insufficient funding has left them inadequate, congested, and needing repairs.
Today, Governor Mark Dayton proposed a straightforward, honest solution to fix Minnesota’s aging transportation systems. Governor Dayton’s plan would invest $6 billion over the next ten years to address the state’s highway funding deficit, invest $2.356 billion in local government transportation projects, and provide $2.92 billion for Metro and Greater Minnesota transit systems. The Governor’s proposal would create an estimated 119,000 new jobs,* and build the infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of a growing population and an expanding state economy.
“Inadequate transportation clogs our lives with worse traffic congestion, longer commutes, more dangerous travel conditions. Those deficiencies restrict our future economic growth and detract from our quality of life,” said Governor Dayton. “If we continue to avoid these problems, they will only get worse. It’s time to begin to solve them. I urge the Legislature to work with me this session to begin to repair and improve Minnesota’s transportation systems.”
“Minnesota’s roads, bridges, and transit networks form the backbone of our economy. After decades of decline, we must invest in these systems to protect Minnesota's long-term economic vitality,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “The plan that Governor Dayton and I are proposing would provide the resources we need to build a modern transportation system – driving continued business and job growth, and protecting the quality of life enjoyed by all Minnesotans.”
The problem is real. In 2012, Governor Dayton convened a bipartisan panel of experts – including policymakers, business and labor leaders, Cabinet officials, and city and county officials from across the state – to study the funding needs of Minnesota’s highways, roads, bridges, and public transit systems. The Transportation Finance Advisory Committee’s (TFAC) analysis concluded that Minnesota faces a $6 billion state highway transportation funding deficit over the next ten years to preserve our existing system, and make the improvements needed for our long-term prosperity. Facing a large and growing list of transportation needs, declining revenues, and an expected one million new residents over the next 25 years, the need for a major new investment in transportation is clear.
“The state’s foremost experts agree on two things: this problem is real, and it cannot be resolved without a major investment,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “But Minnesotans didn’t need a bipartisan panel of experts to tell them what they already know – that our transportation system is in serious disrepair, and getting worse. This problem presents us with two simple and starkly different options: invest for the future, or do nothing and let the problem get much worse. We choose to invest.”
Governor Dayton’s Plan: What It Buys
Governor Dayton’s transportation plan would allow for significant improvements to roads, bridges, and transit systems statewide. Right now, more than half of Minnesota’s roads are more than 50 years old, and 40 percent of the state’s bridges are more than 40 years old. In just the next three years alone, one in five Minnesota roads will pass their useful life. And in the next ten years, nearly 40 percent of our roads will be past their useful life.
With new funding proposed by Governor Dayton, the state can make needed repairs and new investments in our transportation and transit systems – ensuring that Minnesotans are driving on safe, reliable roads and bridges, and have better access to a variety of low-cost transit options. Those improvements would include:
Better Roads and Bridges. The Governor’s plan would repair or replace 2,200 miles of state roads. It would repair or replace 330 bridges statewide. Forty percent of the new revenues raised in the Governor’s proposal would be directed to cities, counties, and townships; giving local leaders the resources and flexibility to repair and replace local roads and bridges statewide.
Better Transit Across Minnesota. The Governor’s plan would fund 20 new transitways, increase metro area bus service by 27 percent, increase Metro Area transit ridership by an estimated 80 percent, meet 90 percent of all transit needs in Greater Minnesota, and increase transit service in Greater Minnesota by nearly 500,000 hours of service each year.
More Corridors of Commerce. The Governor’s plan would provide an additional $1.6 billion for the Corridors of Commerce initiative, making targeted investments in key freight routes that are important for businesses’ expansions and economic development.
“By 2040, Minnesota’s population is expected to grow by over 1 million people; 800,000 of them will live in the Twin Cities Metro Area,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck. “For the future livability of our region, and for the competitive benefit of our entire state’s economy, we need to invest today in expanding and improving our transit systems. The future of our state, and our ability to leverage the federal funding needed to build a modern transit system, depends on the wise and necessary investments we make today.”
Governor Dayton’s Plan: How it Works
The Governor’s transportation plan would bridge the $6 billion state highway transportation funding gap over the next ten years by raising new dedicated revenues for roads and bridges. It would also increase revenues for transit.
New funding for road and bridge construction would be provided by a 6.5 percent gross receipts tax on gasoline, raising the current 1.25 percent base tax on vehicle registration fees to 1.5 percent, and raising car registration fees by $10. The Governor’s plan would also require MnDOT to generate efficiencies of 15 percent from all new revenues, allowing the Department to do $6 billion of work for $5.38 billion in new funding.
The chart below describes how new revenues would be used to address Minnesota’s transportation needs.
Road and Bridge Funding Over 10 years
State Funding (Trunk Highway) – $5.38 billion
Source : Gross Receipts Tax and Registration Fee
County, City, & Township Funding – $2.356 billion
Source : Gross Receipts Tax and Registration Fees
Transit Funding Over 10 years
Twin Cities Metro Area – $ 2.8 billion
Greater Minnesota Transit – $120 million
Bike and Pedestrian Funding Over 10 years
Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure/Safe Routes to Schools - $ 75 million
*Job creation estimates for road and bridge improvements are calculated using a Federal Highway Administration fomula of 9,500 construction jobs and 4,300 construction support jobs created by each $1 billion in transportation investments. Job creation estimates for transit improvements are calculated based on the Metropolitan Council’s experience in building the Green Line (Central Corridor) LRT project.
Governor Dayton serves lunch to students alongside Coon Rapids staff.
Ensuring that Minnesota students are ready to learn when they enter the classroom is critical to improving academic progress and preparing kids for bright futures. To help guarantee that our students have access to healthy meals, we invested $4 million in school breakfast and lunch programs this year. In addition to ensuring no Minnesota student is denied access to a healthy meal at lunchtime, the funding also will provide all 64,000 Minnesota Kindergarten students breakfast.
“No child in Minnesota should be denied a healthy lunch,” said Governor Dayton. “We cannot expect our students to succeed on an empty stomach."
Access to higher education is crucial to ensure that Minnesota has a competitive workforce that is prepared to fill the jobs of the future. That is why the budget enacted by Governor Dayton and the legislature makes a significant investment in college affordability and improving our state colleges and universities. By investing $250 million in higher education, with $46 million going to direct financial aid for students, the budget brings the dream of a higher education within reach for even more Minnesotans.
Governor Dayton Mingles with Minnesota Youth
Thanks to new tax cuts enacted by Gov. Mark Dayton and the MN legislature, the Zuzeks family are expected to save about $160 this year and another $220 on their state taxes in 2014.
Paying for college tuition can cost Minnesota students and families tens of thousands of dollars every year. But a new college tuition tax deduction signed into law by Governor Dayton will help reduce that financial burden, saving 40,000 Minnesota college students an average $140 per year.
The Zuzeks of Hastings, Minnesota, were born to be teachers.
“From a young age, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” said Katie Zuzek, a senior at St. Mary’s University in Winona. “And in order to realize that dream, I knew I had to go to college – there wasn’t any other option.”
Governor Mark Dayton today signed legislation (HF1777) cutting taxes for middle class Minnesotans and businesses. The $508 million tax cut signed into law today will put more money in the pockets of middle class families, individuals, and thousands of businesses across Minnesota. Because the Legislature acted quickly to pass the bill, many Minnesotans will see immediate tax savings during the current tax filing season.
“These tax cuts will put more money in the pockets of Minnesota families and businesses, and in the spirit of the Unsession, make taxes simpler for Minnesotans,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, Tax Chairs Rod Skoe, Ann Lenczewski and Ann Rest, and the other legislators, who spearheaded these tax cuts to passage.”
Since some of these tax cuts will be available immediately during this filing season, the Minnesota Department of Revenue is working with tax preparers and online tax preparation services to update tax filing software for the estimated 1.4 million Minnesotans who have not yet filed their taxes.
For those Minnesotans who have already filed their taxes, the Minnesota Department of Revenue will review each tax return and determine whether adjustments and refunds can be made automatically. The Department will contact any taxpayer who will need to file an amended return to receive these new tax benefits.
Reducing Taxes for Middle Class Minnesotans ($230M)
By conforming Minnesota’s tax code to the federal government’s, the bill signed today by Governor Dayton will simplify taxes and provide tax cuts for middle class Minnesotans.
Photo content: Flickr User Doug Kerr; US Highway 10 – Minnesota
Minnesotans depend on their roads, bridges, and highways every day. Minnesota businesses also require access to good roads as they move goods and services to market. Recently, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced that ten highway construction projects will receive funding through the state’s new $300 million Corridors of Commerce program. These new projects will reduce travel times and improve safety for Minnesota citizens and help businesses transport their products more efficiently.