Mixed messages from the Dayton administration after the governor said Tuesday he “probably” will “swallow” G-O-P lawmakers’ transportation funding plan because there’s not enough support for a gas tax increase. But Dayton’s MN-DOT Commissioner, Charles Zelle, sees that comment differently. Zelle says, “It was very consistent Mark Dayton saying, look, I know that we have to get something done, I think it’s really important for Minnesotans, and as I have over the number of years been willing to compromise and not look just at my plan.”
House Republicans’ transportation point-man, Hanska Representative Paul Torkelson says, “I took the governor’s comments with a grain of salt, but I think it does open the door and indicates that he is very interested in getting a transportation bill passed and signed this year.” But many sticky details must still be worked out. There’s the question of which current funding sources should be tapped, what other programs would see reductions, and whether the state should also borrow money for roads and bridges through bonding. Another big area of contention is some Republicans’ push to kill the Southwest Light Rail Line in the Twin Cities.