Drew Kerr @ Finance & Commerce has this article up on Minnesota's new attempt at raising transportation money: Road, transit supporters hope for new revenue
Sadly the article is behind a paywall. The Transportation Finance Advisory Committee has been looking at these issues for a year. The report is due out Thursday, but obviously has been leaked. With a DFL legislature and Governor, this looks like the shape of things to come.
I am quoted:
While expansion is on the table, David Levinson, a transportation engineer with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, said money should be directed first to preserving existing infrastructure.
Levinson also said officials will have to offer a lot of details on bridge repairs, road improvements and congestion relief projects if they want public support for tax increases.
According to the article the Big items:
- 10 cent increase in fuel tax (or a bigger increase phased in)
- 0.5 cent on Metro-area sales tax for transit
- 10% increase in vehicle tabs
- 30 million in sales tax revenue on leased vehicles to be dedicated to outstate transit
- giving local governments powers to implement higher wheelage taxes, transportation improvement districts, or local option sales taxes
- tolling new system expansion
- expanding MnPass
This is mostly good. Too bad the Stillwater Bridge isn't being tolled. Or the Vikings Stadium.
An incomplete list of what I wish were on it:
- Local option value capture
- Local option congestion charging
- Increasing the state gas tax further to help local governments pay for transportation, moving some road costs off of the property tax funding base they currently use (since a local option gas tax begets a race to the bottom). (Beyond what is currently proposed).
- A well-capitalized state infrastructure bank to lend money to locals or private firms to provide transportation services, with loans paid back by user fees or value capture.
I would also like to see some more structural reforms:
- A major reconsideration of who manages the network (we have three layers of road management in Minnesota (State, County, Municipal), I bet we could get by with two or one.
- Moving MnDOT to be more like a Public Utility, with rates gaining approval from a PUC-like organization, rather than the legislature.
- Charging the full cost of all transportation services as directly as possible, recognizing administrative costs of very precise pricing, (and providing direct subsidies to those who need it, rather than everyone)
- Competitive tendering in transit provision
[I am not on the Committee, and have not been asked to present.]