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Continued: MnDOT plan paints grim picture of transit future

  • Article by: JIM ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 28, 2013 - 6:42 AM

• New vehicle sales have slowed. Consumers are keeping their cars longer, cutting into tab fee revenues.

• Construction costs, including those for oil-based materials like those used in paving projects, are increasing at a faster pace than revenues.

On top of that, a landmark highway bill passed by Congress this summer, called MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) makes changes in how federal highway dollars are doled out to the states and sets performance standards for state highway agencies in areas such as road safety, congestion and condition.

“We need to get back to making the effort to doing the work that needs to be done on our roads and bridges,” said state Rep. Ron Erhardt, DFL-Edina, chairman of the Transportation Policy Committee. “Right now, it’s just patch and repair. We have a lot of things that we need to be doing, but we’re just not keeping abreast with it.”

Both Erhardt and Donahoe said lawmakers likely will be looking at new ways to generate revenue for transportation. In response to declining gasoline tax revenues, Erhardt said, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill this year creating a mileage-based user fee based on how much a driver uses the roads. Though Minnesota is far from having the infrastructure to do that, it could supplement or replace the gasoline tax.

There also might be ways to tie the state gasoline tax — currently 28.6 cents — to the overall fuel purchase, rather than having it based on the per-gallon price. Unlike inflation, the set amount does not increase.

Unlike other taxes, revenues dedicated for good roads are generally supported by voters, Donahoe added.

“Transportation really was an issue that didn’t get done in 2013. In 2014, we know the Legislature will be focusing on infrastructure” as it focuses on the bonding bill, she said.

 

Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @StribJAnderson

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  • 2014 METRO AREA ROAD PLANS

    These are the Twin Cities metro area projects listed for 2014 by the Minnesota Department of Transportation in its newly updated 20-year Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan (MnSHIP). To see the listing through 2019, and projects planned across the state, go to mndot.gov/planning/mnship/.

    Interstate 35E: New MnPass lane, replace bridges (from I-94 in St. Paul to just north of Little Canada Road): $104.75 million I-35E: MnPass design/oversight (from I-94 in St. Paul to just north of Little Canada Road): $4.25 million I-35W: Replace bridge (at W. 94th Street, Bloomington): $8.44 million I-35W: New entrance ramp/auxiliary lane (3rd Street/4th Street ramp to Johnson Street, Minneapolis): $13.48 million I-494: Road overlay, bridge widening (at I-394 to I-94/494/694 interchange, Maple Grove): $48 million Hwy. 100: Rail-related work (36th Street to Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park): $3.13 million

    Hwy. 100: Replace bridge (at Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Center): $2.21 million Hwy. 101: Road, trail, other work (County Road 61, Chanhassen, to Minnesota River bridge approach, Shakopee): $33.84 million Hwy. 101: Rebuild interchange (at County Road 144, Rogers): $9.2 million Hwy. 36: Bridge construction (at St. Croix River): $303.2 million Hwy. 5: Redeck, repair bridges (Hwy. 55, Minneapolis, to Davern Street, St. Paul): $11.03 million

    Hwy. 65: Road, ramp, bus stop improvements (near 53rd Avenue, Fridley, to bridge at County Road 10, Spring Lake Park): $9.33 million Hwy. 65: Replace railroad bridge (north of 14th Avenue, Minneapolis): $11.55 million

    Hwy. 169: Road overlay, signal, other work (north of I- 494, Bloomington, to near Hwy. 62, Edina): $8.76 million

    Hwy. 169: Rebuild interchange (at I-494, Bloomington): $5.06 million Hwy. 169: Interchange construction (at County Road 69, Scott County): $15.45 million Hwy. 61: Freeway upgrades (4th Street, Hastings, to I-94 in St. Paul): $3.74 million Hwy. 61: Overlay, signals, median construction (south of White Bear Avenue to just north of Hwy. 96): $3.41 million

    Robert Street (Hwy. 952A): Improvements (West St. Paul): $3.5 million

    JIM ANDERSON

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