Report calls for fees, taxes to maintain transportation system

A transportation task force is calling for higher taxes and fees to improve and maintain the state's transportation system.

The task force created by Gov. Mark Dayton calls for the state to do a better job of connecting residents to jobs, education, health care, entertainment and shopping, at an estimated cost of $50 billion in new revenue over the next two decades.

In a report out Friday, the task force recommends boosting the gas tax to raise more than $15 billion over the next 20 years, and increasing vehicle registration fees for another $1 billion.

The group also recommends raising a Twin Cities transit dedicated sales tax to generate $200 million annually and expanding the MnPASS toll lane system, MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said.

"Certainly, no one likes to pay more taxes and yet the cost for things does increase. When I was a kid, a gallon of gas was 35 cents and now it's $3," Gutknecht said. "As time passes, inflation causes things to cost more. It's the same with our road system."

The report is expected to inform lawmakers when the legislative session gets underway next month.

"We need to have a good solid transportation system to get goods to and from the markets to get people to and from work to get us to and from our leisure activities to get us to and from school," Gutknecht said. "If we don't have a solid transportation system it can hurt the economy."

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