With Election Day two weeks away, voters in Minnesota soon will get a say in whether a change to the state's constitution is the best
way to pay for millions of dollars in transportation needs.
A proposed amendment that will be on the ballot would dedicate
all motor vehicle sales taxes (MVST) solely for roads, bridges and transit.
Currently, about half of MVST revenue - 46 percent - is rerouted to the state's
general fund, the Elk River Star News reported.
If approved, the change is projected to generate about $300
million annually after a five-year phase-in period. It would offer the state's
first dedicated source of funding for transit.
The constitutional change requires a simple majority to
pass. Failure to vote on the question counts as a "no" vote.
Transportation advocates say the proposal is a step in the
right direction but more than $1 billion is needed each year to meet
construction and maintenance needs, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
Opponents say the amendment is poorly worded because it
doesn't guarantee how money will be distributed between roads and transit. That
is of particular concern for rural communities who typically don't need money
"Do I think zero will go to roads? Probably not. Do I think
it could be 40 percent roads and 60 percent transit? I do think that," Rep. Dan
Dorman, R-Albert Lea, told KTTC-TV in Rochester, MN.
Others say dedicating all MVST for transportation will hurt
schools and colleges, which rely heavily on general funds.
Minnesotans will cast ballots on the transportation
initiative Tuesday, Nov. 7. Anyone not registered to vote in the state can do
so up to and including Election Day. Residents who wait until Election Day to
register are required to have a photo ID with their address on it in order to