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Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: September 2nd, 2017, 11:31 pm
by Tiller
One more month until we have a .5 cent transit sales tax in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: October 5th, 2017, 10:36 pm
by mamundsen
Um... I had a friend post this on Facebook. I am on my phone so I haven't dug into it, but this is cannon fodder for less spending on transit.

Chamberlain statement on $237 million Met Council accounting discrepancy

https://www.mnsenaterepublicans.com/cha ... screpancy/

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: October 5th, 2017, 11:41 pm
by Tiller
I read about that in the Pioneer Press today, the GOP is just blowing smoke out their ass. (Strib link b/c pioneer press changed stuff with their website) http://m.startribune.com/report-met-cou ... 449427223/

Dibble put it concisely:
Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, released a statement dismissing GOP criticism.

“A simple reading of the report makes it clear that the alleged discrepancy Republicans claim is comparing apples to oranges. The state budget request — submitted in February 2017 — offers funding projections for the next four years,” Dibble said.

The senator said the dissolution of the regional Counties Transit Improvement Board, “dramatically changed the landscape of funding for transit in the metro area, especially for Southwest Light Rail Transit.”

He said the federal financial management plan submitted at the end of June 2017 provided a look back at 10 years of funding, and 20 years of projected spending. It also included substantial changes to reflect the negative outcomes of the 2017 session and Hennepin County picking up the tab for what he called funding failures at the state level.
General transit funding for metro transit =/= CTIB (and now county) funding. CTIB funding has been explicitly set aside for transitways, as opposed to local bus service and even aBRT. It's yet to be seen if Hennepin County will be willing to chip in for aBRT.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: October 6th, 2017, 7:54 am
by RailBaronYarr
Ok I mostly agree the GOP is using this report for political purposes when there isn't that big of a problem.

That said, it is a *bit* odd that the Met Council uses different Metro Mobility growth rate assumptions for its internal finance report (8.95%) vs the federal one (5%). I believe the Council when they say the different assumptions and finance buckets included in one vs the other are legitimate and reviewed by the FTA, but it would be nice, as the OLA suggests, to have those assumptions (and why they're different from other financial reports other people might read) more clearly laid out in future reports.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 9th, 2018, 9:04 pm
by DanPatchToget
Simple question here, and I apologize if this has already been discussed: Can the state and/or federal gas tax be used to fund the operations and/or construction of transit?

I was looking at Lakeville's Legislative Priorities and this caught my eye: "The operating costs of the transit system are paid by all residents of the state through other revenues such as the gas and sales tax."

Unless a state representative lied to me (which sadly is very possible), he said the gas tax cannot be used for transit.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 10th, 2018, 12:10 am
by tmart
Dunno about federal. The state gas tax is, unfortunately, etched in stone in the damn constitution though:
Section 1. Authority of state; participation of political subdivisions. The state may construct, improve and maintain public highways, may assist political subdivisions in this work and by law may authorize any political subdivision to aid in highway work within its boundaries.

...

Sec. 5. Highway user tax distribution fund. There is hereby created a highway user tax distribution fund to be used solely for highway purposes as specified in this article. The fund consists of the proceeds of any taxes authorized by sections 9 and 10 of this article. The net proceeds of the taxes shall be apportioned: 62 percent to the trunk highway fund; 29 percent to the county state-aid highway fund; nine percent to the municipal state-aid street fund.

...

Sec. 10. Taxation of motor fuel. The legislature may levy an excise tax on any means or substance used for propelling vehicles on the public highways of this state or on the business of selling it. The proceeds of the tax shall be paid into the highway user tax distribution fund.
The only mention of transit is in Sec. 13:
Sec. 13. Motor vehicle sales tax allocation. The revenue apportioned in section 12 must be allocated for the following transportation purposes: not more than 60 percent must be deposited in the highway user tax distribution fund, and not less than 40 percent must be deposited in a fund dedicated solely to public transit assistance as defined by law.
So I'm guessing it's only the vehicle sales tax that can go to transit uses. They might be able to sneak some capital expenditures into highway projects but broadly speaking I think the fuel tax has to go towards asphalt.

(This is the part where we all dream about getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot to add transit-specific taxes and mandate certain levels of construction and service, like LA did with Measure M.)

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 11th, 2018, 11:27 am
by Multimodal
As cars get better mileage and go electric, the gas tax becomes more irrelevant, while the vehicle sales tax remains so that’s good.

As cars-as-a-service becomes important, though, even the vehicle sales tax will eventually become irrelevant. Yes, we do need transit-specific taxes, and taxes to pay for roads used by electric vehicles.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 11th, 2018, 2:13 pm
by tmart
Agreed on each point. IMO the model that makes the most sense is to break it into a carbon tax (ideally cap-and-trade allowances) on gas, with the proceeds going to capital investments in transit, EV infra, and other ways to relieve the need for gas vehicles; and a mileage tax on all vehicles, paid annually when you renew your license tabs, which would exclusively fund road construction and maintenance.

I have no idea how we get from here to there, though.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 11th, 2018, 4:35 pm
by Multimodal
Yeah, neither do any countries, states, or cities! It’s a big problem.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 11th, 2018, 7:11 pm
by David Greene
We get there when the issue is forced. Unfortunately there hasn't been enough pain yet. People I think instinctively know our traffic really isn't that bad compared to other places.

The key is to have a plan ready when the pain gets here.

In the meantime we use the mechanisms available as best we can. And we could do quite a lot yet.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk


Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 11th, 2018, 10:21 pm
by mamundsen
Apparently the infrastructure budget plan that will be released tomorrow will be about easing the federal requirements, but require a lot more local money.

Are we doomed?

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 12th, 2018, 3:04 pm
by David Greene
Sounds like those "federal requirements" are mostly environmental review. Sounds like a terrible plan.

I'd be all for reducing the federal highway share to be equal to the federal transit share though. Or better yet, raise the transit share but that won't happen.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk


Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 12th, 2018, 5:32 pm
by mplsjaromir
Also gutting labor protections. Some smart, but mostly bad.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 12th, 2018, 7:46 pm
by DanPatchToget
How about less environmental reviews for projects that are supposed to help the environment by giving a cleaner option of travel (LRT).

Or do we still have to do studies on light rail impacting gravel pits and an impound lot?

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: February 13th, 2018, 11:57 am
by tmart
DanPatchToget wrote:
February 12th, 2018, 7:46 pm
How about less environmental reviews for projects that are supposed to help the environment by giving a cleaner option of travel (LRT).

Or do we still have to do studies on light rail impacting gravel pits and an impound lot?
Yeah, I feel like our approach to environmental protection often misses the forest for the trees, worrying too much about the impact on the immediate area and not nearly enough about the holistic impact. I'm also interested to see if federal transit planning guidelines will go away or be revised. It'd be nice to shave some time off the planning and approvals process at the beginning of these projects, and possibly reduce the pressure to make dumb choices to fit cost/distance/travel time guidelines.

Obviously not stoked about reducing environmental requirements on things that actually are net polluters or do have major local impacts, like highways and pipelines. But in general I think we've probably overbuilt a lot of highway infrastructure thanks to free-flowing federal cash, so having more local money in the capital phase for roads is probably a good thing.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: March 22nd, 2018, 1:08 pm
by tmart
Community development block grants, which are flexible funds that are enormously popular with mayors and other local officials, would receive a huge $2.4 billion increase to $5.2 billion despite being marked for elimination in Mr. Trump's budget plan. And an Obama-era transportation grant program known as TIGER would see its budget tripled to $1.5 billion.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/government ... 018-03-21/

Well that's not quite what I expected.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: March 22nd, 2018, 1:18 pm
by Bakken2016
tmart wrote:
March 22nd, 2018, 1:08 pm
Community development block grants, which are flexible funds that are enormously popular with mayors and other local officials, would receive a huge $2.4 billion increase to $5.2 billion despite being marked for elimination in Mr. Trump's budget plan. And an Obama-era transportation grant program known as TIGER would see its budget tripled to $1.5 billion.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/government ... 018-03-21/

Well that's not quite what I expected.
Community development block grants are the same as Capital Investment Grants? i.e. money for SWLRT

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: March 22nd, 2018, 1:42 pm
by tmart
I don't think so. However, that program also appears to be funded:
16 For necessary expenses to carry out fixed guideway
17 capital investment grants under section 5309 of title 49,
18 United States Code, $2,644,960,000 to remain available
19 until September 30, 2021: Provided, That of the amounts
20 made available under this heading, $2,252,508,586 shall
21 be obligated by December 31, 2019: Provided further,
22 That $5,050,000 from unobligated amounts appropriated
23 for the buses and bus facilities program under section
24 5309 of such title from fiscal years 2000 to 2005 shall
25 remain available until September 30, 2021 to carry out

1 section 5309: Provided further, That of the amounts made
2 available under this heading, $1,506,910,000 shall be
3 available for projects authorized under section 5309(d) of
4 such title, $715,700,000 shall be available for projects au
5 thorized under section 5309(e) of such title, $400,900,000
6 shall be available for projects authorized under section
7 5309(h) of such title: Provided further, That the Secretary
8 shall continue to administer the capital investment grant
9 program in accordance with the procedural and sub
10 stantive requirements of section 5309 of such title.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: March 22nd, 2018, 1:49 pm
by Bakken2016
tmart wrote:
March 22nd, 2018, 1:42 pm
I don't think so. However, that program also appears to be funded:
16 For necessary expenses to carry out fixed guideway
17 capital investment grants under section 5309 of title 49,
18 United States Code, $2,644,960,000 to remain available
19 until September 30, 2021: Provided, That of the amounts
20 made available under this heading, $2,252,508,586 shall
21 be obligated by December 31, 2019: Provided further,
22 That $5,050,000 from unobligated amounts appropriated
23 for the buses and bus facilities program under section
24 5309 of such title from fiscal years 2000 to 2005 shall
25 remain available until September 30, 2021 to carry out

1 section 5309: Provided further, That of the amounts made
2 available under this heading, $1,506,910,000 shall be
3 available for projects authorized under section 5309(d) of
4 such title, $715,700,000 shall be available for projects au
5 thorized under section 5309(e) of such title, $400,900,000
6 shall be available for projects authorized under section
7 5309(h) of such title: Provided further, That the Secretary
8 shall continue to administer the capital investment grant
9 program in accordance with the procedural and sub
10 stantive requirements of section 5309 of such title.
Nice, all those people saying Trump nixed the funding can shut up now.

Re: Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Posted: March 22nd, 2018, 1:51 pm
by tmart
To be clear, this is the congressional budget and a lot of these projects were nixed in Trump's proposed budget. But the president's proposed budget is basically a wish list and the congressional budget is the real deal.