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Reader Opinion: Transportation funding

Last November, we elected a whole new slate of lawmakers who won on the promise that they would not leave greater Minnesota behind. But the transportation package coming out of the House shortchanges us and our needs.

Last November, we elected a whole new slate of lawmakers who won on the promise that they would not leave greater Minnesota behind. But the transportation package coming out of the House shortchanges us and our needs.

The needs are clear: our roads and bridges are in dangerous disrepair costing us time, money and even safety. Constant unexpected repairs from potholes and uneven roads make owning a car expensive. If you can't drive (cost, age, disability) you should not have to be bound to your home. But, there are almost no transit options outside of the cities. We have to increase access to transit and repair our roads so we can all get around.

There are two proposed solutions. The House proposal would steal money from the general fund, taking away from schools and nursing homes and only guarantees funding for a few years. The second, coming out of the Senate, uses new revenue to fund long term improvements. Our state is going to spend large amounts of money on transportation issues no matter what. Why fix roads at the expense of other essential services? The gas tax is a user fee, with us the people who use the roads paying to maintain them. This will save us money because we will not need costly car repairs once the roads are better for the long-term.

We must find long-term dedicated funding so we aren't simply pushing the problem down the road (no pun intended), putting the burden of funding roads and transit onto our kids and grandkids. Funding transportation through a small increase in the gas tax ensures that this money will exist long enough to fix the big problems we face here in Minnesota. And we need to address these problems now - this cannot wait until next year.

Hannah Trostle

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