Twin Cities Pay More, Get Less in State's Transportation Equation

An Star Tribune analysis finds residents in the Twin Cities region are generously supporting the transportation infrastructure spending of the rest of the state.
March 21, 2017, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Nick Lundgren

"Greater Minnesota gets far more money for roads and bridges than its residents pay in taxes for those projects, a new Star Tribune analysis of transportation funding has found," report J. Patrick Coolican and Mary Jo Webster. Throughout the article, the "Metro" is used to describe counties in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, while "Greater Minnesota" is used to describe the rest of the state.

"The review found that metro and greater Minnesota taxpayers each provide about half the money for Minnesota’s roads and bridges, but greater Minnesota gets twice as much back in projects," add Coolican and Webster.  To be exact, Metro area counties generate 52 percent of the state's vehicles sales tax, vehicle registration fees, and fuel taxes revenues. However, the same counties only receive 32 percent of the state's transportation investment.

According to the article, the findings of the analysis "contradicts a commonly held perception in greater Minnesota — and one heard often in political campaigns — that the metro is taking more than it gives." That common misconception is not unique to Minnesota, of course.

The analysis emerges as Republican Senate leaders "are planning to review their 10-year transportation funding plan," and while debate regarding the Southwest light rail project continues at the state and regional levels.

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Published on Monday, March 20, 2017 in Star Tribune
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