House Dems move to scaled-back transportation plan

House Democrats hoping for a big funding influx for transportation projects this year are moving to a scaled-back effort to raise money.

The House Transportation Finance Committee is expected to discuss on Friday a budget bill that would allow counties to impose a half-cent local option gas tax and a $10 annual fee on vehicles registered within their borders. Counties could use that revenue to fund infrastructure improvements.

Lawmakers scrapped the idea of a statewide gas tax after Gov. Mark Dayton shot down the idea this week.

Rep. Frank Hornstein, a Minneapolis Democrat, says he wishes a transportation budget would go farther. He calls the new proposal a good step to address counties' infrastructure needs.

Hornstein says he hasn't given up on a metropolitan area sales tax to fund new transit projects, and that he will work with Gov. Mark Dayton to move those projects along.

"We're going to work with him and the (Minnesota Department of Transportation) commissioner moving forward and try to get significant infrastructure investments, which we all agree we need," Hornstein said.

MPR's Rupa Shenoy contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: The Associated Press reported erroneously that the bill includes a half-cent gas tax. The half-cent is a local option sales tax. This story was corrected on Saturday, April 13.

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