Lawmaker calls for higher gas tax

Pumping gas
A driver fills up his gas tank at a service station.
David McNew/Getty Images

A member of the state Senate Transportation Committee says Minnesota will have to raise its gasoline tax to help pay for roads and bridges.

Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, said the gas tax has slipped in the amount it contributes for road and bridge costs in Minnesota. Carlson declined to say how much he thinks the gas tax needs to be increased.

"We used to pay on the order of 15 to 20 percent of your total fuel bill in state taxes. We're down now, and I don't know exactly what the number is now, but probably on the order of 6 or 7 percent now," said Carlson.

In the most recent state transportation bill lawmakers overrode the governor's veto and approved an 8-and-a-half-cent a gallon increase phased in over time. It was the first increase in more than two decades.

The federal gas tax has not been increased since the 1980s. Carlson says more money is needed for road and bridge maintenance and replacement.