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Calling for a Transportation Sales Tax in the Twin Cities

Citing the model of Houston's local-tax-funded Red Line, a writer argues for a local sales tax in the Twin Cities to support urban transit investments.
September 23, 2014, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Brendan Slotterback writes about the lessons in local funding he brought back to the Twin Cities after a visit to Houston's Red Line—that project's $324 million price tag was covered completely by local funds generated by Houston's one-penny sales tax.

Slotterback, however, finds that the Metropolitan Council’s draft 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (called Thrive MSP) proposes little in the way of large-scale, urban transit infrastructure: "…we’re apparently done building LRT projects through 2040.  Over the next 25 years, Minneapolis and Saint Paul alone are expected to add over 130,000 people, and for the most part we’re just planning to upgrade some buses (under the optimistic funding scenario)."

Slotterback's argument is set in the context of ongoing debate about statewide legislation called Move MN, but the political compromises and debate likely to surround that bill prompts him to ask: "So what if Minneapolis and Saint Paul just wanted to build transit on our own?  What if we had a one penny sales tax dedication?" Slotterback goes on to pencil out just how much such a source of local revenue would get the Twin Cities.

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Published on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 in Streets.MN
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