2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

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Silophant
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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby Silophant » February 21st, 2019, 7:01 am

Remember that the existing half-cent transportation sales tax doesn't go away, and in Hennepin and Ramsey counties at least, there's no indication that anyone (except Jeff Johnson) is looking to shift it from transit to highways.

David Greene
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Re: RE: Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby David Greene » February 21st, 2019, 1:20 pm

Silophant wrote:Remember that the existing half-cent transportation sales tax doesn't go away, and in Hennepin and Ramsey counties at least, there's no indication that anyone (except Jeff Johnson) is looking to shift it from transit to highways.
Right, but the total would still be much less than a lot of places.

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twincitizen
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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby twincitizen » February 21st, 2019, 1:24 pm

Here's a two-page summary of the transit-specific components of the budget proposal: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... udget.aspx

Read carefully though as some of the numbers given are for "the next ten years" (the bullet points), while other numbers given are for the FY2020-21 two-year budget.

Walz proposes $36.5MM in FY20-21 dedicated to Metro Mobility, so we can probably assume that means about $18MM in annual "savings" for Metro Transit. But remember that Metro Transit recently faced a two-year budget deficit of $56-89MM, prior to the fare increase and some admin staff freezes, etc. It's probably safe to assume that the annual ~$18MM savings to Metro Transit will really just plug an existing hole, to keep service at current levels (or back to where we were before the shortfall-induced service cuts)

Metro Mobility getting its own state budget line is subtle but super important. TBH this is probably the "must-have" piece of Walz' proposal that needs to be preserved in any compromise with the Senate GOP. This simply has to happen, or Metro Mobility growth (5-8% annual growth) will eventually necessitate further service cuts to regular route transit.

The MVST increase from 6.5% to 6.875% ($205MM over 10 years) would basically just stabilize revenues to the initially projected levels, since MVST has not grown as rapidly as projected in 2006. I wouldn't even really look at this as an increase...just going back and "fixing" MVST.

Taken together, the MVST and Metro Mobility funding changes should really be looked at as "stability", not "growth". Doing these two things will help Metro Transit avoid future service cuts, fare increases, and allow very modest service growth (such as the duplication of aBRT/local service, new/improved suburban local routes to connect with Southwest LRT, etc.)

The additional 1/8-cent sales tax would bring in $770MM over 10 years, or probably $60-65MM annually in the immediate future (assuming steady growth in collections over the 10-year period). I want more information on this piece. The budget brief just states "to maintain and expand the regional bus and transitway system". Elsewhere, the document specifically notes that Walz' budget "will add 10 new BRT lines in the next decade". It also mentions $20MM in annual G.O. bonds, but does not specifically say what for.

alexschief
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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby alexschief » February 21st, 2019, 2:07 pm

Important also to note that the proposed 1/8th sales tax increase would fund ten new aBRT routes. Last year, I estimated that completing a network of fifteen routes would cost about $800 million in total. Of course, the A-Line has already been built, the C-Line is about to open, and the D, B, and E lines are all partially funded. The Walz-Flanagan budget is excitingly near to what I had hoped for, and with some potential added room for fleet electrification. I also hope that if this funding is passed, that it will spur Metro Transit to revise their 2012 list of aBRT corridors with the perspective of building a network of service instead of simply enhancing random corridors.

I'm optimisitic that both the sales tax increase and the Metro Mobility carve-out will survive the legislative session. Plenty of Republican legislators have expressed support for aBRT (albeit some not-insignificant portion have done so purely as an anti-light rail stalking horse), and the costs would fall entirely on people who swept the DFL into power. I don't know what the politics of the carve out for Metro Mobility would be, but it's an idea that makes a lot of sense on the merits, and I'm hopeful that it will be a top priority.

This is definitely an easier lift than the gas tax!

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Re: RE: Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby David Greene » February 21st, 2019, 2:55 pm


alexschief wrote:This is definitely an easier lift than the gas tax!
One does not happen without the other. Suburban and rural legislators won't vote for transit money without road money in return.

My fear is that the inevitable gas tax reduction will result in a decrease in or elimination of the transit piece, leading to an outcome where road spending is expanded but transit spending isn't.




mattaudio
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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby mattaudio » February 21st, 2019, 5:06 pm

I'm not sure I want to support a gas tax increase if it goes towards an increase in road money. It should only be used to offset the cross-subsidy of roads from the general fund and other roadbuilding slush funds.

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twincitizen
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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby twincitizen » February 22nd, 2019, 1:24 pm

Agreed. If the gas tax is increased by 10 cents or 20 cents or whatever, that ought to be the end of Corridors of Commerce and all other means of siphoning money out of the general fund and hogging up bonding capacity.

Silophant
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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby Silophant » February 22nd, 2019, 1:45 pm

I went to a Transportation and Transit forum with MAK and Slavik on the speaker panel this morning, and MAK said that was the intent - that the gas tax would give transportation a dedicated source of funding separate from the general fund, because when you have a recession, the whole general fund goes to keeping healthcare and education going and suddenly you haven't done any roadwork for five years.

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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby Kilo_SSK » February 24th, 2019, 3:13 am

Regarding the roadwork and development programs that are supposed to last over 5-6 years, I'm always quite skeptical... Our taxes are going there for the next couple years, and if at the next election, someone else wins and has different priorities, it'll all be in vain as the program will be abandoned, liquidated or at best botched, which will cost extra money without bringing positive results.

If you're a politician and are presenting long term projects as arguments to make people vote for you, you'd better be 200% sure to be reelected, otherwise you, your electors and the city will all lose together.

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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby mamundsen » May 19th, 2019, 8:39 pm

No gas tax hike.

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Re: 2019-2020 MN Legislative Session / Budget / Bonding

Postby David Greene » May 19th, 2019, 9:06 pm

Good.

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