A North Mankato State Senator said the snowy month of February has provided a good example of the need to raise the gas tax in order to fix Minnesota’s crumbling roads and bridges.
Senator Nick Frentz fielded a call this week from a Minnesota Department of Transportation official who said, “Look, the roads are so bad where we’re plowing that we’re damaging the plows. You’ve got to get money for roads, you’ve got to increase the gas tax.”
In his recent budget proposal, Governor Tim Walz included a potential 20-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax. Frentz said he supports it but added, “I don’t think it will be 20 cents. We’ll enter the negotiation process now and go through the negotiation process and see what happens.”
However, others in rural Minnesota are also pleading for that gas tax hike and road repairs. Frentz said, “I had a farmer call me last night from our district who said, ‘Please, go with the full 20 cent per gallon increase.'”
State officials have said the state will have to spend $600 million a year for ten years just to get caught up on repairs and maintenance. The gas tax is constitutionally dedicated to roads and bridges and cannot be spent elsewhere. The current gas tax in Minnesota is 28.5 cents per gallon.