Weather Forecast


Transportation funding remains stable

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Senate and House needed little time to approve a $4.3 billion transportation funding compromise.

The Monday votes keep transportation just below current spending, and do not cut State Patrol operations. The House approved the measure 103-30; senators followed with a 63-4 tally

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said he expects Gov. Tim Pawlenty to sign the measure.

"This transportation bill squarely addresses the difficult economic times we are facing in Minnesota," said Rep. Bernie Lieder, DFL-Crookston, House transportation finance chairman. "We are creating jobs and adequately funding for our statewide transportation system, all while contributing to the solution of our budget shortfall."

The bill provides more Twin Cities and greater Minnesota transit money in an attempt to avoid fare increases.

A controversial provision allowing law enforcement officers to stop motorists when seat belts are not being worn was not included in the measure.

Also missing was a proposal by Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, that the House already passed to allow motorists to drive faster than the speed limit when passing another vehicle.

The bill allows the transportation commissioner make grants to local governments that need to replace or rehabilitate dangerous bridges.

Also included is a provision to establish a Stillwater lift bridge account. The account would accept money from Minnesota, Wisconsin, the federal government and private sources to operate the aging bridge.

Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.