House transportation bill has optional tax

The House Transportation Finance Committee Monday approved a bill that would allow all counties to impose an optional half-cent sales tax and a $10 annual vehicle registration fee to pay for infrastructure improvements. The bill would also boost funding for greater Minnesota transit.

But the committee's chairman, Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, said he wants a more comprehensive bill with more money for roads, bridges, mass transit and bike and pedestrian improvements.

"We are not giving up," he said. "We think that over time we can still convince those that need to be convinced that we can make a major investment in transportation yet this session."

Earlier versions of the bill in the House and Senate had eliminated a proposal by Gov. Mark Dayton, which would have imposed an additional sales tax in the seven-county metro area to pay for more transit projects. Gov. Dayton has also said he is opposed to an increase in the gas tax to fund transportation projects.