Gas tax needed for Highway 14

Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday voiced his opposition to raising the state’s gas tax. People won’t stand for it, he said.

The people of Minnesota don’t like taxes, but they are smart enough to understand that taxes are necessary to get needed projects done. And in this part of the state, we need to get the Highway 14 four-lane expansion project done from Mankato to New Ulm.

Rep. Frank Hornstein, chair of the House Transportation Finance Committee, has been promoting a “Corridors of Commerce” bill that would raise the state’s gas tax to help pay for projects like Highway 14. Gov. Dayton’s announcement Monday that he opposes a gas tax increase is a serious blow to that bill. It has pushed back work on the House’s Omnibus Transportation Bill, which we hope will include more Highway 14 funding.

Like it or not, the gasoline tax is the major source of transportation funding Minnesota has. It’s true that it becomes less productive as more fuel efficient cars take to the roads, and people cut back on their driving. But what is the alternative? There has been talk of a mileage tax, levying a tax on Minnesota motorists for the miles they drive each year, but no one has a good plan for figuring how to calculate that.

If you are tired of Highway 14 getting pushed to the back of the line time and again, write, phone or e-mail Gov. Dayton and let him know. His contact information can be found under the Political Directory on this page.