MN House Approves Gas Tax Hike, Hortman Challenges MN Senate
House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, is challenging the Republican-led Minnesota Senate to come up with a long-term funding solution for roads and bridges. The challenge comes after the DFL-controlled Minnesota House approved a 20-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike.
“Minnesotans expect our transportation system to be safe, modern and efficient,” said Hortman in a statement. “Our roads are crumbling, our bridges are structurally deficient, and our transit system is under-developed.”
Gas Tax Hike Phased In Over Four Years
The House included the gas tax increase in the omnibus transportation finance bill. The gas tax would go up $0.05 per year over a four-year period. After that, the gas tax would go up with inflation. The measure passed on a mostly party-line vote.
The funding would inject billions of new dollars into road, bridge and transit budgets that state officials say are desperately needed. Republican leaders in the Minnesota Senate, however, are against any gas tax hike. Their House GOP cohorts say it would hurt low-income Minnesotans the most.
“We’re moving Minnesota backwards by passing this transportation plan,” said Rep. Jon Koznick, R-Lakeville. “This is highway robbery. The excessive taxes in this transportation bill are going to hurt our economy.”
The House plan closely mirrors Governor Tim Walz’s proposal. If enacted, the state’s gas tax would go from among the middle of the pack to one of the highest in the nation. The gas tax is currently 28.5 cents per gallon. (It would increase to 48.5 cents per gallon, a 70% increase.) Since 2013, 30 states increased their gas taxes.
The legislature has a May 20 deadline to finish its work.