Governor Mark Dayton says he “probably” will swallow Republicans’ plan for transportation funding because there’s not enough support at the legislature for a gas tax increase. But Dayton adds dollars are not close to what’s necessary — that’s because money would have to be diverted from the state’s General Fund. House Republicans’ transportation point man, Hanska Representative Paul Torkelson, says it’s important to pass a bill this year. Torkelson says, “If it slips into next year, the odds of getting it done become slimmer. We saw that in the last biennium. And I feel like transportation is already behind the eight-ball, and we need to do some catching up.”
The wrangling will be about which programs will absorb reductions so roads and bridges get more funding — and whether the state should borrow money to pay for transportation projects. There’s also a continuing dispute between Dayton and Republicans who are trying to kill the Southwest Light Rail Line in the Twin Cities.