Minnesota governor signs transportation bill

| Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bill into law June 9 to borrow money for state transportation projects, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The $3.8 billion funding package includes money to run the state transportation and public safety departments.

The bill, backed by Pawlenty and House Republicans, would borrow $400 million and seek up to $500 million more in federal funds ahead of schedule to pay up to $900 million on road, bridge and transit projects over the next four years.

The $400 million in bonds are to be repaid through cost cutting at MnDOT, which will see a 1 percent reduction to its operating budget, the newspaper reported.

The new law includes tolling solo drivers a still-unspecified fee to drive in lanes now reserved for high-occupancy vehicles. The fees would go toward road projects.

In addition, the bill includes money for 50 new state troopers. That money would come from an annual fee on bars that choose to stay open until 2 a.m. instead of the current 1 a.m. close.

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