Attention needed for road issues

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 18, 2002

Members of the House-Senate conference committee on transportation funding meet today to try to clear the way for a transportation bill.

In our eyes, it’s time for lawmakers to

start focus on passing such meaningful legislation.

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The Senate bill would increase spending on highways and transit by $5 billion over 10 years. It would also increase the gasoline tax to 6 cents a gallon and sell highway bonds. Some lawmakers see the 6-cent sales tax as a political hurdle that they won’t consider overcoming, especially during an election year. The other dilemma is the gas prices continue to rise and make a state-level jump harder to justify.

Most lawmakers believe Minnesotans want to see more money spent on roadways, especially in the metro areas, but are unwilling to pay more to get them.

It’s no secret the state’s transportation is in need of work. Even in the Austin area, the summer is already filled with road construction projects.

Such a bill has a direct impact on Minnesotans and in a sense improves their lifestyles. It’s time for lawmakers to put down their homer hankies and go back to bat for Minnesotans.