Long-term plan needed for state's highways It's long-past time for the state of Minnesota to adopt a comprehensive, long-term plan to fund the state's highways and transit systems.
For as long as most can remember, funding for these vital systems has been determined on an annual basis.
Road and transit projects are subject to bitter fights in the Legislature. Outstate representatives fight for projects in their districts, while metro legislators work to attract more money for mass transit systems.
In the end, all projects suffer from the lack of a clear plan.
And for too long, money has been siphoned from the highway systems of the state into the general fund, or other various projects.
This gradual reduction in funding has caused many needed repairs and road projects to remain undone.
Those who follow the Highway 14 saga know this to be true. Residents and officials must develop a long-range vision for the state's transportation system.
This vision, of course, will almost certainly require more funds from the state budget. An obvious solution to funding demands is to increase Minnesota's 20-cents-a-gallon gas tax. This tax has remained the same price since 1998. If the tax were simply adjusted for inflation, it would rise by 13 cents.
A three cent increase, for example, could do wonders long-term for Minnesota's transportation systems.
It's time for legislators to get serious about maintaining and improving highways in the state. It's time for a plan.
-- Owatonna People's Press
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