Minnesota's gas tax would increase as construction costs climb under a proposal House Democrats released last week — an idea Republican lawmakers quickly rejected.

It has been 13 years since Minnesota last increased the gas tax and the cost to repair state infrastructure continues to grow, Rep. Erin Koegel, DFL-Spring Lake Park, told the House Transportation Committee as members debated a bill containing the provision on Thursday.

"We're really asking [the Minnesota Department of Transportation] to do more with less funding," Koegel said, contending that indexing the gas tax to keep up with inflation would help ensure safe roads.

House Democrats' transportation funding bill would raise the tax on a gallon of gas by 5 cents over the next four years. It also increases the motor vehicle sales tax and directs the Metropolitan Council to add a half-cent sales tax in certain Twin Cities communities to support transit. The bill would change how tab fees are calculated and add a luxury vehicle surcharge.

"These tax increases will hit Minnesotans of every income level, including the poorest of the poor," Rep. John Petersburg, the Republican lead on the Transportation Committee, said in a statement.

DFL Gov. Tim Walz pushed for a 20 cent increase to the gas tax two years ago, which failed. Walz did not include a gas tax hike in his proposed budget for 2022 and 2023.

Jessie Van Berkel