Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
David Greene
IDS Center
Posts: 4327
Joined: December 4th, 2012, 11:41 am

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby David Greene » May 18th, 2016, 10:43 am

Highway 12 at least has good justification for work. Lots of accidents/deaths on that highway.

But yeah, GO bonds are a terrible way to do things.

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5002
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby MNdible » May 18th, 2016, 11:10 am

I'm all for a long term solution to our transportation funding sources, but... why exactly are GO bonds a bad way to fund long lasting infrastructure projects? I'd argue that that's exactly the type of thing that we should be bonding for -- especially with interest rates as low as they are right now.

User avatar
Anondson
Capella Tower
Posts: 2784
Joined: July 21st, 2013, 8:57 pm
Location: Where West Minneapolis Once Was

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby Anondson » May 18th, 2016, 11:15 am

Even bonds run out, the infrastructure doesn't go away and will mandate future generations come up with a new way to pay to maintain it. Less than ideal. Better is a sustainable source of revenue.

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7194
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby mattaudio » May 18th, 2016, 11:20 am

Because this is further degrading the feedback loop between how much transportation costs to provide, how much of that cost people pay, and how much transportation people consume.

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5002
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby MNdible » May 18th, 2016, 11:23 am

So, given that, we should probably abolish taxes and just go for a straight fee-for-service model to pay for all of our government and infrastructure.

acs
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1345
Joined: March 26th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby acs » May 18th, 2016, 11:36 am

I'd be for user fees in more situations instead of taxes. Not that crazy of an idea.

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5002
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby MNdible » May 18th, 2016, 11:53 am

Agreed. I can't tell you the last time the police or the fire department came to my house -- I find it preposterous that I'm paying for a service that I don't use. And don't get me started about those money-sucking schools!

acs
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1345
Joined: March 26th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby acs » May 18th, 2016, 12:00 pm

Ever camped at a state park? Those fees are just killer, so regressive! Just abolish them, you never know when you're gonna stumble upon hundreds of dollars in gear and a car and time to get it to Duluth, so let's just all pay for it.

HiawathaGuy
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1222
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 12:03 pm

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby HiawathaGuy » May 18th, 2016, 12:07 pm

acs wrote:Ever camped at a state park? Those fees are just killer, so regressive! Just abolish them, you never know when you're gonna stumble upon hundreds of dollars in gear and a car and time to get it to Duluth, so let's just all pay for it.
This assumes the fees go to cover all of the state park expenses... which is false. So not really sure how that helps?

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1464
Joined: September 29th, 2012, 10:41 am

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby talindsay » May 18th, 2016, 12:54 pm

When did this become the Star Tribune comments section?

acs
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1345
Joined: March 26th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby acs » May 18th, 2016, 1:34 pm

I hate to burst your guys' bubble, but the strib comments section is generally going to be far more representative of the opinions of the state than this forum.

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5002
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby MNdible » May 18th, 2016, 1:57 pm

I think we can safely say that neither the Strib's comment section nor this forum are anything close to representative of the state's opinions.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2543
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby RailBaronYarr » May 18th, 2016, 3:06 pm

MNdible, is it really that hard to treat different aspects of government differently in how we provide and pay for them? Some things, like police, fire, public parks, schools, etc, spread benefits thin over everyone, have high transaction costs, and/or have very difficult to track and capture economic return/value, particularly to the individual. Others, **like major inter- and intra-state roads** carry few or none of those qualities. It's not crazy to say that roads, with very specific costs and specifically internalized benefits and easily identifiable, viable alternatives, can and should be (mostly!) paid for by users. The spectrum of road type is perhaps more complicated than road vs street (the Strong Towns mantra) in my opinion. Certainly, charging people for the location and time of use for a specific piece of infrastructure (rural roads, county roads, etc) may carry transaction costs way higher than their utility relative to, say, interstates and state highways, which is why a toll on every road was historically panned (though if people would get over their privacy fears - something that'll happen anyway with self driving cars - this would be VERY easy to implement).

Like I bitched about before, this isn't f*cking rocket science. A gas tax doesn't get at the time/location of road use, but it's at least a proxy for road use. Bonds backed by at least a gas tax should be the bare minimum feedback loop for funding roads. And we should be moving toward tolling wherever possible (even in exchange for lower fixed fees like the MVST/tabs and variable ones like the gas tax). A city has to make tough calls about what the overall levy is, and how much of that is dedicated to parks, roads, police, fire, etc. That's difficult, but manageable at a local level (even for a city the size of Minneapolis). A statewide transportation system should not be subject to the same type of funding. There is no way the technocrats at MnDOT, let alone the politicians who'll ultimately make the decisions, can come close to accurately identifying the amount of economic return or utility of a road project and justify backing a mix of income, sales, and property taxes on said project. That's if it's even true that any single additional lane mile (or even maintaining exactly 100% of what we have) will provide marginal GDP growth. How much will MN's GDP grow when the Stillwater Bridge opens? Or when we expand 35W to 3 lanes in Lakeville? How certain are you of that?

Using GO bonds is convenient, and even highly attractive with rates where they are. That doesn't mean it's the right solution.

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5002
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby MNdible » May 18th, 2016, 4:00 pm

I'm certainly not suggesting that some level of user fees for roads isn't a good idea -- it is. I'm just saying we don't need to get our panties in a bunch if we're using GO bonds to fund a very small portion of our overall transportation funding. And I'm also saying that our automobile transportation infrastructure is a public good, whether you own a car or not.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2543
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby RailBaronYarr » May 19th, 2016, 7:42 am

I think you and I have different opinions on whether state highways, interstates, and other major roads are public goods. I can't ride my bike or walk on an interstate or trunk highway, and 99% of people feel (rightly) excluded from facilities they may technically be allowed to use without a car. There's a practical price (owning a car or truck) and a charged price (MVST, a tax on the gas required to run the car, tab fees) to using those facilities. So, you can be excluded and charged. Further, the type of investments we talk about making are almost always to solve some problem, typically capacity; whether that's on the same road (widening a highway) or creating a new route because an existing one can't handle the volume and/or at speeds desired by users (bypasses of towns, etc). This isn't a stretch for rivalry. Congestion is rivalry. And, especially considering the state isn't directly involved in providing alternatives for travel (personal or freight) for the vast majority of these routes, it's become the only alternative in many cases. Compare that to city streets which, due to their design and speed, are almost never excludable or rivalrous, at least not in the way I described above.

I'd say roads, the ones we're talking about funding with GO bonds, exhibit more qualities of club or common goods than public, and sometimes are explicitly private (privately-owned toll roads!). They may be built and maintained by the government, but it's not even insane at all to imagine them being run like a utility, even with different service areas managed by private corporations (could be non-profit!). They're not, and that's fine, but that doesn't make them public goods, just provided *by* the public.

In the more general sense that people refer to "public" goods, we way over-use that term. If people really felt that way, they'd be lobbying for the government to own and maintain all railroads (at the very least the tracks and ROW), all utilities, all broadband, etc because everyone benefits if everyone has access to these options. Obviously, some people push for aspects of that (the GOP/DFL pushing for rural broadband, massive subsidies for rural airport infrastructure, etc). But gosh, wouldn't you know it passenger rail just doesn't pass that public good definition somehow for most people, not because it is or isn't the right thing for the government to invest in, but mostly because they just don't like it. In the very specific case of roads, it's not a public good that a private company can get their widgets from Anoka to Bloomington in an 18-wheeler. That benefit accrues to the companies involved and the consumer benefiting. If it costs $X to maintain the system that allows that travel, it's not crazy to suggest that price gets baked into the goods and services provided.

Anyway, to your point, I don't see how we can effectively draw the line on how much to bank on the full faith of MN taxpayers for roads. 1% of the budget? 10%? 50%? You're basically saying that when whatever user revenues we have come up short (and they will, because there's still a backlog of the past 30 years of projects we haven't identified need rehab, too - it's why we keep needing to have this conversation every 5-10 years), we're going to have to make the choice of increasing sales/income/corporate tax rates, or cut other government services. Other services that don't/can't have specific user fees or easily identifiable economic returns. My progressive leanings tell me it's more important to fund education or health services or pre-K or retirement benefits or unemployment than it is to make sure every single road across the state has a PCI>75 and a LOS > B.

acs
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1345
Joined: March 26th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby acs » May 19th, 2016, 8:21 am

http://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/05/18 ... big-issues

So Dayton released his list of "must have" spending items and, surprise surprise, no transit. Just more useless shilling for EdMN.

Bakk doesn't seem to give a shit and admits a transportation bill likely won't happen.

I think we need to wake up to the fact that transit expansion is dead in Minnesota,and it was killed under a DFL governor.

User avatar
Anondson
Capella Tower
Posts: 2784
Joined: July 21st, 2013, 8:57 pm
Location: Where West Minneapolis Once Was

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby Anondson » May 19th, 2016, 8:31 am

Unless Dayton knows the CTIB has its sure shot to get the funds covered if the state behaves irresponsibly, and is making it seem like he's offering something up to get buy in for other things that have no Hail Mary.

acs
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1345
Joined: March 26th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby acs » May 19th, 2016, 8:37 am

I'm not buying that the CTIB can or will be able to cover the states share. We've heard absolutely nothing about that being possible from any credible inside source (sorry, guys). This doesn't get funded in the next 4 days, you lose federal funding, delay it at least a year, and jack up the price to unreasonable levels. It's dead.

twincitizen
Moderator
Posts: 5723
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 7:27 pm
Location: Standish-Ericsson

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby twincitizen » May 19th, 2016, 8:59 am

acs wrote:I'm not buying that the CTIB can or will be able to cover the states share. We've heard absolutely nothing about that being possible from any credible inside source (sorry, guys). This doesn't get funded in the next 4 days, you lose federal funding, delay it at least a year, and jack up the price to unreasonable levels. It's dead.
Do you work for the Met Council? They've been quietly putting together contingency plans for the state share since probably 2012. It's not something that would be intentionally communicated to the public. SWLRT is the poster child for increasing the transit sales tax. They're not going to preemptively say "You know what, we'll be just fine without it. Never mind that whole transit funding thing, we're good." Are you familiar with the game of poker?

zumf
Block E
Posts: 9
Joined: September 9th, 2013, 11:59 am

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Postby zumf » May 19th, 2016, 9:04 am



Return to “Transportation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: maka_ska and 2 guests