House Approves $2.2 Billion Transportation Plan

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota House has approved a transportation bill that Republicans say will help the state begin work on much-needed road and bridge projects.

The nearly $2.2 billion legislation passed by a vote of 76-54. Lawmakers continued their perennial battles over light rail projects and what funding sources to use for transportation projects.

Republican Rep. Paul Torkelson of Hanska, says the bill fixes many of Minnesota’s deficient roads and bridges without raising taxes or fees. But Democrats say the bill relies too much on non-dedicated funds.

Debate over a gas tax hike will likely appear in negotiations again this year. Governor Mark Dayton says he wants to raise it, while Republicans favor using money from the general funds, existing transportation accounts and taking on debt to pay for projects.

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