Despite arguments that its wording is confusing, a proposed
amendment to the Minnesota Constitution will remain on the Nov. 7 ballot. If
approved, the change would dedicate tax dollars to transportation projects
around the state.
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Oct. 26 - without additional
comment - that item would remain on the ballot.
The ballot question asks voters if they want to dedicate all
motor vehicle sales taxes solely to 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.
As written, the proposed amendment would require that at
least 40 percent of the taxes would be used for mass transit and up to 60
percent would go for roads and bridges. The wording leaves open the possibility
that rail and bus projects could get most or all of the revenue.
After a five-year phase-in period, the change is projected
to generate about $300 million annually. It would offer the state's first
dedicated source of funding for transit.
Opponents, led by rural mayors and legislators who brought
the challenge, 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 that typically don't need money for transit.
Others say dedicating all motor vehicle sales taxes for
transportation will hurt schools and colleges, which rely heavily on general
Supporters acknowledge the amendment isn't perfect but say
it is a step in the right direction, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
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