Transportation gets rolling at the Capitol

The House and Senate Transportation Committees held a joint hearing Monday to compare the House and Senate versions of transportation bills offered in 2015. On the same day, the Governor’s Office released a memo criticizing the Republicans’ transportation proposal, calling it “gimmicks” and positioning it as risky and insufficient to meet transportation needs.

Non-partisan legislative staff explained the two proposals: The House proposal relies upon directing general fund revenue streams into transportation expenses, moving certain administrative expenses out of the transportation funding account and into the general fund, and eliminating general fund support for the Met Council over time. The Senate proposal relies on new revenue sources, including a “gross receipts” tax on the sale of gasoline and increased tab fees. The Governor’s plan is very similar to the Senate’s.

Non-partisan staff prepared a side-by-side comparison of the proposed financial changes  and a comparison of all three plans.

Sen. Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan) asked what the Republican plan would cost the general fund. The answer was, with the shifts of costs into the general fund and the shifts of revenue streams out of the general fund, the cost would be approximately $650 million for the first biennium (FY2018-2019).

All three plans include trunk highway bonds for Corridors of Commerce. The Governor’s plan provides $200 million/year for eight years ($2 billion total), the Senate plan provides $200 million/year for four years ($800 million total), and the House plan provides $125 million/year for 6 years with $62.5 million in the seventh year ($812.5 million over 7 years).

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