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Dayton recommended the additional 0.25 percent sales tax in his budget proposal this week. It would raise more than $200 million annually, helping to fund up to 15 passenger rail and rapid bus lines in the next 20 years.
The tax also would fund expansion of bus service by 1 percent per year and reduce the amount of future state borrowing.
"It really eliminates a reliance on the state general fund and the state general obligation bond funds for transit," Met Council Chair Susan Haigh said.
March 30, 2006
Lea Schuster, the director of Transit for Livable Communities, a St. Paul-based advocacy group says lawmakers continue to chip away at money for transit.
"Transit has steadily been losing money at the Legislature for the last years. We've had transit cuts and fare increases," she says.
Everyone's nervousness boils down to concern over having more money.
Transit advocate Lea Schuster believes the language is clear and any driver who hits a pothole or rider who waits for a bus will understand what's at stake.
"Once Minnesotans understand this will provide a steady, stable funding source for transit that will be stable in a way that roads currently are and in addition, will add more money for roads, that's a win-win across the state, whether you live in the metro area or
greater Minnesota," she says.
Voter approval to spend all the MVST revenue on transportation could mean as much as half a billion dollars more for state transportation projects by 2011.