Its time to take action. The time has come to quit talking about the need for more state transportation money and to do it.
The Minnesota Legislature should override Gov. Tim Pawlentys veto and approve the transportation package approved by the House and Senate.
Its been 20 years since the state last raised the taxes and during that period at least 45 states have raised their gas taxes. U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., chair of the House Transportation Committee, said a year ago that since Minnesota raised its gas tax the number of combined miles Minnesotans drove increased from 36.4 billion to 56.9 billion miles.
As we wrote in this space a year ago, a state cant fund needed highway repairs with the same financing structure that was used in the Reagan administration. A gas tax hike was overdue a year ago and that was before the tragic collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis.
The gas tax is a user tax in which those who use the roads the most will pay the most. The prospect of higher gas prices doesnt thrill us but its foolhardy not to maintain the system that Minnesotans hard-earned tax money has built up over the years.
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, no friend of big taxes, favors the gas tax and successfully worked to convince lawmakers to scrap the indexing measure that formerly was a part of the transportation package.
We can no longer ignore the vital infrastructure that brings tourists to our lakes and products to our markets. The Legislature should support the transportation bill and override Gov. Pawlentys veto.
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