The Republican-controlled Minnesota House has approved a transportation bill that would spend six billion dollars over 10 years on roads and bridges by, among other things, capturing existing sales taxes on auto parts, repairs, rentals and leases. Hanska Republican Paul Torkelson urged colleagues, “Let’s get funds to our road projects and get ’em built. That’s what I’m about.” But North Mankato Democrat Clark Johnson warns, “Building roads and bridges compete in the General Fund against funding schools and basic funding for essential human services.”
Many Democrats, including Governor Mark Dayton, contend the only way to raise enough money to address Minnesota’s long-term transportation needs is a gas tax increase. Republicans say, no way.