Minnesota House passes transportation bill

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The Minnesota House of Representatives recently passed a transportation bill that would provide $6.7 billion in funds for road and bridge construction and maintenance through a raise in the gas tax – the first such raise in two decades. The compromise package was approved Thursday, Feb. 21, on an 89-44 vote.

The proposed law would raise the gas tax two cents immediately and then another three cents as of Oct. 1. An additional three-and-a-half cent surcharge would service debt on $2 billion in bonds for road projects – the lion’s share of that would go to projects in the state’s trunk highway system. The existing gas tax is 20 cents per gallon, and if this bill passes into law, that would rise to 28.5 cents.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has threatened to veto the package, according to numerous news organizations. The House vote was one vote shy of the 90 votes necessary to override a governor’s veto, and it is unclear how many of the original votes legislative leaders could count on in the case of an override vote.