Property Taxes Help Fund Roads As Gas Tax Revenue Dwindles

<p>Revenue from gas taxes has been down in recent years, leaving little money to handle road improvements and maintenance. The State of Minnesota has shifted the costs to property owners.</p>
May 15, 2007, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Dedicated roads funding from state and federal road-user sources such as fuel and vehicle taxes has been relatively stagnant for years. Meanwhile, local property levies for roads and bridges in Minnesota have doubled since the mid-1990s -- to an estimated $1.6 billion in 2006. The result, little noticed by most Minnesotans, is that property taxes have become the state's single largest funder of roads, nearly equal to all state and federal sources combined."

"And the connection between crumbling, congested roads and rising property taxes is helping fuel legislative debate over increasing state taxes for transportation."

"State transportation officials under Gov. Tim Pawlenty acknowledge that local governments, which manage 90 percent of Minnesota's 132,000 miles of streets and roads, need more revenue to build and maintain them. But Pawlenty opposes increasing state-level taxes for transportation, more than a third of which go to local road expenses."

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Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 in Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
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