Minnesota Transportation Funding

A reader raised a question in responding to yesterday’s post Let your voice be heard – Minnesota GO: “How can MN build infrastructure with a $5 billion deficit?”

I think Minnesota, or  the US in general, cannot afford not to build a better infrastructure. Even public transportation in China is much more advanced than in the US. Here is a post I wrote on this topic after my trip to China last summer.

Yes, Minnesota has an estimated $5.03 billion two-year budget deficit. But Mn/DOT’s funding comes mostly from designated sources, almost half of its funding comes from the fuel tax. Approximately 80 percent of Mn/DOT funds are appropriated by the legislature and 20 percent is statutorily appropriated.

The following charts show where Minnesota’s transportation funding comes from and where it goes (for fiscal Year 2010)

Sources of Minnesota state transportation funds

Uses of Minnesota state transportation funds

Mn/DOT is a multi-modal agency. Its activities include transit; aeronautics; freight and commercial vehicles; construction; maintenance; and operation of 12,000 miles of state highways. Approximately 30 percent of Mn/DOT’s appropriations are state aid to local governments for road and bridge projects and other activities.

*Source of information: Mn/DOT Funding and Finances

4 Responses

  1. thomas s

    not to worry PK. the 50 yr planning effort that initiated this exchange will probably not cost much. it will just generate a lot of chatter, speculation and what not. perhaps create a report that will end up on the shelf somewhere and will be forgotten in a year or two. i can think of many such efforts that produced reports that ended up that way. moreover, i doubt that the people who enter into the 50 yr “conversation” will really dig into the policies and facts that govern transportation decisions in this state. rather, the result is likely to be a gloss on the really tough issues. or, alternatively, will end up documenting the pleadings of a pastel of special interest groups. notice that our librarian friend carefully avoided that aspect of the matter.

    1. Yeah special interest groups will be all over this. This just seems like a project that would be laughed at in ND, especially now, with the current state of the country’s economy. Granted we have about 1/10 the population. This seems more like a Minneapolis metro area issue rather than a state issue. A lot of the population is in this area, with the rest of the state being a lot like ND, so i don’t see this project being all that successful.

  2. Yes the money for the budget comes from specific sources. But it’s all used for upkeep of the current infrastructure. I looked at some suggestions for more light and high-speed rail and more public transportation. That money would have to come from other sources, and with a $5 billion deficit, i don’t see it being feasible. About 1/3 comes from the federal government, who has a $1 trillion deficit and is in debt over $14 trillion. If the funds were there it would be great to upgrade, but the country’s in a debt crisis. I live in ND, we had a billion dollar surplus, but there are still paved roads being turned back into gravel because they cost too much to maintain. If lived in MN i would be praying that in 20 years there are still usable roads.

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