Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)



ST. PAUL – With Minnesota's latest budget forecast scheduled to be unveiled in the coming days, State Representative Dave Hancock (R-Bemidji) said the time is right to support a long-term transportation plan that would invest $7 billion in state roads and bridges over the next ten years without an increase in the gas tax.

"Nearly everyone I've spoken with about long-term transportation funding favors the House solution," Hancock said. "People simply do not want to pay a minimum of 16 cents per gallon more at the pump and prefer an approach that does not raise taxes."

Hancock said the House proposal was approved on a bipartisan basis last session, and even though a compromise was not reached before the 2015 session ended, discussions can resume immediately in 2016. The

initiative would use sales taxes already being paid on auto-related services and products, along with bonding and a small portion of our budget surplus in order to make the needed investment.

Over the next ten years, the Republican proposal invests $4.03 billion for state roads; $1.44 billion for county roads; $583 million for municipal roads; $282 million for small cities under 5,000; $139 million for Greater Minnesota bus services; and $60 million for township roads and bridges.

Hancock said expanding funding for the Small Cities Program is one of the major components of the GOP plan. The program, which was created thanks to GOP leadership in 2015, would distribute more than $400,000 to House District 2A towns over the next two years if the House's long-term transportation proposal becomes law.

"Under this proposal, Baudette would see $47,000, Bagley would receive nearly $45,000, and Blackduck would collect more than $33,000 each biennium to use for local transportation expenditures," Hancock said. "Not only are we prioritizing our rural roads with this transportation package, but we are prioritizing our rural communities as well."

The 2016 session is set to begin on March 08, 2016.


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