Now that the fishing opener is behind us, Minnesota lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty are fully engaged in trying to finish the 2007 legislative session on time.
The Legislature is a pressure cooker at this stage of the process and if outstate Minnesota fell off the face of the earth one morning the first clue our state's politicians would have on that event might be when their cell phone coverage failed to reach their home districts.
Still, this outstate newspaper will make one more plea for the Legislature and governor to see to it that Minnesota's woefully ignored transportation system is properly funded this year. If Minnesota fails to come up with the required 20 percent in state matching funds it risks losing as much as $4.3 billion in federal funds. To blow this opportunity would be a tremendous disservice to the people of Minnesota.
While no one likes taxes, particularly one that's being added on to already-high gas prices, the gas tax is directly related to mileage. Those people who drive a great deal on state roads will pay more. While we have no objection to bonding for some road projects (since the next generation will benefit from such expenditures) the gas tax also makes sense as a user fee that's dedicated to transportation needs. Why can't the governor and Legislature agree with a combination of both bonding and gas tax increase to improve our roads?
Since Minnesota last raised its gas tax in 1988, 45 other states have raised their gas taxes. We will surely pay for this neglect if we don't take action this year.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.