TRANSPORTATION FUNDING NEEDS
Region 7W Transportation Policy Board
Historically, the Highway Users Tax Distribution Fund, which includes the gas tax and license tab fees, has been the primary funding source for transportation infrastructure in Minnesota. Today, this funding source is inadequate to meet the needs for maintaining and expanding the state's transportation system. In addition, increased competition for limited federal funding contributes to the regions inability to address its growing transportation needs.
Region 7W supports the following initiatives:
- Place a constitutional amendment on the ballot dedicating 100% of the motor vehicle sales tax (MVST) to transportation. After accounting for current general fund dollars going to highways and transit, the additional funds provided would be split 75% for highways and 25% transit.
- Increase the state's motor vehicle fuels user fee by 10 cents per gallon (5 cents in the first year, and 5 cents in the second year) and index to the rate of inflation. This change would provide additional dedicated transportation revenue for state highways, county state aid highways and municipal state aid streets. In addition, the state's portion of this increase would assist in paying back previously issued trunk highway bonds.
- Allow local option sales, or excise taxes and fees with revenue dedicated to highways and transit.
- Limit increases in the use of Trunk Highway Bonds equal to additional revenue that is identified to pay the interest on the bonds.
- Place a higher priority on multi-modal transportation.
- Provide transportation funding for small cities under 5,000 in population.
- Eliminate the state sales tax charged to state and local governments on transportation-related purchases.
- Develop statutes/policies to better coordinate the location and relocation of utilities and the associated costs to the public caused by transportation projects.
Transportation Projects of Regional Significance
Region 7W has identified a number of projects to improve the regional and state transportation system. Funding is recommended for these local transportation priorities because they provide benefits beyond their individual jurisdictions:
- Secure right-of-way and related infrastructure improvements to increase safety and provide additional capacity, including additional lanes, improved access and transit services, where appropriate, in the Highway 55 Corridor between I-494 in Hennepin County and the western limits of the City of Annandale.
- Support and pursue funding to construct and operate Northstar Commuter Rail.
- Upgrade Highway 101 - U.S. Highway 169 to a rural freeway between Rogers and Princeton.
- Construct the Sauk Rapids Bridge.
- Address Highway 10 safety and capacity needs.
- Construct the I-94/Highway 10 Interregional Connection (new Mississippi River crossing).
- Support and pursue funding to construct the Dayton Bridge.
- Establish a new state highway route between County Road 22 in Anoka County and County Road 33/U.S. Highway 169 interchange in Sherburne County.
- Pursue funding to expand Highway 23 to four-lane from Paynesville to Richmond and to construct Highway 23/County State Aid Highway 8 Rockville interchange.
Transportation Policy Board
Region 7W includes portions of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright Counties that are located outside the defined 20-year planning area of the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization. The nine-member policy board consists of local elected officials from the region. A 16-member transportation advisory committee also supports the policy board.
Region 7W exists to specifically address regionally-significant transportation issues, conduct regional transportation studies and plans, solicit and select projects seeking federal funding through the Area Transportation Partnership process, and support the Minnesota Department of Transportation in its transportation activities.
For more information please contact Steven Voss, Region 7W Coordinator, at 1-800-657-3971 or by e-mail at Region7WTPB@dot.state.mn.us