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More money for roads and bridges

Both of Minnesota’s parties have rolled out substantial proposals for improving transportation in Minnesota. The DFL is looking at dedicating $10 billion for transportation, the GOP has launched a $7 billion proposal.
So, for once, the parties seem to agree on something: in particular, that Minnesota’s transportation system is in dire need of attention.
But, of course, there are stark differences in the proposals because, after all, we’re talking Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats’ proposal includes a proposed increase in the gas tax of 6.5 percent, or about 16 cents per gallon at current prices. The Republican approach includes no tax increase, but instead proposes to redirect tax revenue from other sources and redirect it specifically toward roads and bridges, rather than funding such transportation systems as light rail.
We have written here before that avoiding an increase in the gas tax would be preferrable.
We feel the Republican plan is better for rural Minnesota. A gas tax increase would drive up the cost of goods in rural Minnesota in particular, because of the distance goods must be transported to reach end users.
Gov. Dayton has indicated that there is enough common ground between the two parties’ proposals that he is ready to begin work with the GOP to come together on a bipartisan plan both parties can back.
Given the friction between the two parties, we suspect that there will be a lot of time, grunt work and sparring before a compromise program is hammered out.
We just hope it won’t take the whole 10 years of the 10-year proposals to finally get to a solution.
And remember, these proposals are just that: 10-year plans. While 10 years seems long term, it’s a blink of an eye when you are looking at infrastructure.
Let’s get a plan, quickly, and get behind it. Then we can get to the real issue before us: finding a long-term solution to financing transportation that will withstand swings in the economy and provide a stable, steady source of revenue for the future of our transportation system.