Minnesota Report

Governor Tim Walz (R-MN) may believe his proposal for a $.20 gas tax increase, an increase in the license tab fees and the sales tax on new vehicles provides a stable funding source for transportation and transit, but it is clear Republicans do not. Governor Walz, we have the answer, it’s a Minnesota Mileage Fee.

First off, Republicans only are interested in funding transportation costs, not transit, because they believe the siphons off funds for use in rural communities and on major roadways their constituents use primarily. If you listen closely to Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) their approach to funding “Roads and Bridges” involves directing the sales tax from auto parts sales to these specific areas. There is no mention about any form of transit, rural or otherwise. They see transit as a metropolitan issue and it falls on deaf ears with them. We have said before we believe this is why Conservative Radio Talks show hosts berate mass transit because then they can’t spout their vitriol on the radio in the car when people are stuck in traffic and then further incense the public.

As we have already stated before we believe the forward-thinking approach, which is a logical and realistic approach is to create a new system of funding based on a user fee system determined by mileage, which is collected annually at the time of license tabs renewal. We will again stress we do not promote and gap system on any other measurement tool to determine the figures, but would support a fixed amount of mileage, which could be reduced by proof of any difference. This means the operator pays a fee based on the reading on their odometer. The odometer reading is then compared to that of the previous year and the owner can bring forward any information of road miles traveled out-of-state and reduce the amount of the payment. If the payment is a large amount it can be broken down into monthly payments, or like property taxes two six-month payments.

This system takes into account the mileage covered by electric vehicles, and the costs associated with eighteen wheelers, delivery trucks, taxi cabs, Uber and Lift drivers, and the actual wear and tear on our roadways. We discussed this concept with Sen Jason Rarick (R-11, Pine City) and he asked what about out-of-state drivers and we responded the current gas tax could remain in place and it would phase itself out over the course of time, but also there could be a toll created for out-of-state drivers collected at the border for those driving in and not for Minnesota drivers.