Trump’s Transportation Plan May Reduce MN Backlog

President-elect Donald Trump’s plan for billions of dollars in transportation spending could solve a lot of the funding problems Minnesota has faced in the past years, reports the Star Tribune.

Trump’s plan calls for more than $100 billion in tax incentives to try and convince the private sector to invest in infrastructure construction. The plan would be for investments to be recouped by revenue streams such as tolls on roads or fares for riding a train.

Investors would likely seek to only fund the areas with higher population density where these fees would be collected most often.

“If this is the be-all-end-all, it’s not going to be terribly helpful,” Margaret Donahoe executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance told the Star Tribune, “It certainly wouldn’t help with greater Minnesota or help with the maintenance of roads and bridges we really need.”

Last year Congress passed a $305 billion highway bill, with $4 billion of that going to Minnesota. Minnesota has had trouble funding infrastructure due to a limited supply of taxpayer dollars and strong resistance to raising the gasoline tax. The list of backlogged projects in the state totals several billions of dollars.

Trump’s plan has been attracting interest from members of both political parties. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have both expressed early willingness to work with Trump on the bill.

“I think it’s clear that a lot of people on both sides of the aisle have been trying to push for more infrastructure funding,” Klobuchar said reports the Star Tribune, “The devil is in the details. There are tons of highway projects that need to get finished.”

However the question of how to pay for the bill is still unsettled. Some Republicans campaigned this past election cycle vowing to reduce budget deficits. U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN6) said overall he is not troubled by large amounts of new transportation spending.

“It’s something our government is supposed to be involved in. This is the lifeblood of commerce in our country,” Emmer said to the Star Tribune. “I worry about the spending, but I also look at it in the bigger picture. … You need to keep in mind that we need economic growth that is 3, 4 and 5 percent. We have to start moving again and the way you do that is to repair and replace.”

Anders Koskinen