Minnesotans in five Twin Cities counties will pay two new transit taxes starting tomorrow.
Money from a quarter-cent sales tax and a $20 fee on new and used car sales will go for improvements to bus, commuter and light rail projects.
Officials estimate the new taxes will generate about $100 million a year. Projects at the top of the priority list include the planned Central Corridor light rail line connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul, improvements to the 35W busway, and a Fridley station on the Northstar commuter rail line.
Peter McLaughlin is chair of the new board that will allocate the money. He says improving public transit is critical, especially as gas prices continue to rise.
"Everybody likes to talk about $4 gas and we are trying to provide an alternative here for people. Some people will continue to drive and that is fine but if you provide a high quality transit option -- Hiawatha Avenue proved that people will use it and use it in big numbers," McLaughlin.
The new taxes take effect in Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota and Washington Counties. Carver and Scott counties voted to reject the taxes in those two counties.