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Dayton doubts transportation funding

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton is not confident that transportation funding legislation could pass if he calls a special legislative session to finish work not done by Sunday's midnight deadline."I think it's unrealistic to think they're going to a...

Gov. Dayton
Gov. Mark Dayton announces a new transportation funding plan in this May 16 file photo. “I think it’s unrealistic to think they’re going to agree on something before or during a very short one-day special session, if there were one,” Dayton told Minnesota Public Radio Tuesday. (FILE | FORUM NEWS SERVICE)

ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton is not confident that transportation funding legislation could pass if he calls a special legislative session to finish work not done by Sunday’s midnight deadline.
“I think it’s unrealistic to think they’re going to agree on something before or during a very short one-day special session, if there were one,” Dayton told Minnesota Public Radio Tuesday.
Transportation funding discussions started early in 2015 and legislation only emerged in the final hour of the 2016 session last weekend.
As the legislative session ended, more than $700 million in transportation funding was blended into a public works funding bill. It failed in the final moments of the session.
The Democratic governor told reporters Monday that he may insist on a long-term transportation funding bill. If that cannot happen, he raised the chance that there would be no new road and bridge funding this year.
Most legislators and Dayton agree with experts’ assessments that $6 billion is needed over the next decade to bring state road and bridges up to acceptable standards.
Dayton told the radio network that he would like to see transportation and other public works projects divided into two measures, like they usually are. If that happens, he sounded more optimistic that a public works bill could pass.
However, he said, he needs to look through other bills (that arrived on his desk Tuesday) and talk to legislative leaders before deciding if he will call a special session. Only the governor has that authority.
Dayton would not lay out a timetable for when he might decide on a special session.

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