Transportation bill is on the fast track at the Legislature

Highway construction
Highway construction projects could become more numerous in the state if the Legislature passes its multibillion dollar transportation package.
Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

A multibillion dollar transportation funding bill is heading for a vote this week in the Minnesota House and Senate.

DFL Legislative leaders have the bill on a fast track this session, because they say the road and bridge projects could help jump start the state's sagging economy.

The measure would raise the gas tax 7 1/2 cents per-gallon. Gov. Tim Pawlenty is expected to veto the bill, and the big question is whether DFL leaders in the House can get enough Republicans to support a veto override.

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said she thinks the votes will be there.

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"I know that people want to take the courageous vote and be able to fund our transportation system. The need is out there," Kelliher said. "It's been clearly demonstrated that we're in a transportation crisis both in terms of funding and the condition of the system. And the time for action is now."

The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday.

Gov. Pawlenty has three days to sign or veto the bill after it passes both houses.

Kelliher said an override vote would take place soon after the veto.