Tribune Editorial: Time has come to raise state gas tax
The time has come for Minnesota to invest in its transportation system by raising the state gas tax. U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar warned the Minnesota Legislature on Tuesday that if the state does not increase transportation funding, it may start losin...
The time has come for Minnesota to invest in its transportation system by raising the state gas tax.
U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar warned the Minnesota Legislature on Tuesday that if the state does not increase transportation funding, it may start losing federal highway funding.
Currently, Minnesota has $4.3 billion in federal funding earmarked through 2009. If the state does not provide sufficient funding to match the federal funding, some of this funding will be lost.
Minnesota is falling behind other states in transportation funding. Minnesota has not raised its gas tax since 1988, while 45 other states have increased their gas tax since then.
Since raising the gas tax to 20 cents per gallon nearly 20 years ago, Minnesotans' driving miles have nearly doubled on state roads -- from 36.4 billion miles in 1988 to 56.9 billion miles last year.
Minnesota also has not had a substantial transportation package since 2003.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has vetoed proposed gas tax increases in the past.
During the same period, Minnesota's transportation system has continued to age and deteriorate, while the funding demand for roads and bridges increases every year.
Minnesotans approved the transportation amendment in November which designates more transportation funding. However, the state's transportation funding needs far exceed this additional funding.
More transportation funding is needed in this state.
No one likes to pay more taxes on gasoline. However, Minnesotans have a history of wise and appropriate investment when needed.
Raising the gas tax this year to provide additional transportation funding is one such investment.