Minnesota Transportation Funding (General)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
xandrex
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby xandrex » January 4th, 2015, 3:33 pm

a_tribe_called_chris wrote:The renters rebate is a lame wealth redistribution scheme. I've lived in 4 states and this is the only one with that concept. Since homeowners actually pay a tax (that keeps going up) they deserve relief. Renters aren't directly paying that and have more freedom to flee since they have a different level of risk as well. They can move easily when their lease is up.
You act as if I, as a renter, don't pay property tax. Sorry, buddy, I can move, but I can't escape property taxes. They're built right into my rent. There's no reason that renters, who are generally poorer than homeowners, should subsidize your choice to own a home. In fact, I invite you to sell your home and rent if property taxes are such an issue.

Remember this: I don't get to write off interest on an incredibly expensive asset come tax time. So maybe we'll call it even? :roll:

mulad
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby mulad » January 5th, 2015, 5:24 pm

The federal home mortgage interest deduction is probably a much bigger impact on the available budget than the state's renter's credit. The renter's credit also dies out quickly as income goes up -- for 2014, the threshold is $58,060 for a household (in 2010, the average Minnesota household had an income of $57,243). Meanwhile, the homestead tax credit only zeroes out once household income reaches $107,150, and that's still at the state level.

I'm not a huge fan of the idea of a mileage tax, mostly because it's been tied to a desire to put a GPS tracker on cars to deal with the problem of crossing state lines. We aren't New York, though, and the imbalance between in-state residents driving elsewhere and out-of-state residents driving in the state is small enough that it can probably be ignored. Odometers have been regulated for a long time, so we can probably trust most people to just read off the value once a year (or some other regular basis) in order to pay the mileage fee. Some sort of spot-checking/auditing would probably be enough.

Right now, I don't have enough knowledge to say whether the infrastructure dollars are being divided between the Twin Cities and the rest of the state fairly or not. I don't think we have a good definition of what is fair to begin with (or if we ever will), so that makes it pretty difficult to decide. Many measures are inherently skewed one way or another. As of now, the dollar amounts are split roughly 50/50 between the two, and that's not too far off from the population distribution. Things are inherently more spread out in rural areas, though it's also usually cheaper to build out there.

At the same time, I think small-town residents are just as in need of walkable business and residential neighborhoods as many city-dwellers. A single-family home on an acre-sized lot can be just as out of place in a small town as it is in the city, yet you could transplant an apartment building from the Stevens Square neighborhood of Minneapolis into a small town and no one would be the wiser.

Anyway, we're still spending too much on new infrastructure in most of the state, while the balance should continue to shift towards maintenance and correcting safety issues. Meanwhile, more money should be put into public transportation within towns/cities and for intercity travel, and there should be better funding for walking/cycling infrastructure that actually allows people to get to and from real places rather than trails off in parkland.

froggie
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby froggie » January 5th, 2015, 9:45 pm

A couple of things should be noted that may not be clear to some posters:

- That 140,000 mile figure in the article represents ALL roads in Minnesota, not just the highways. So township roads, farm roads, and local residential streets are included in that figure.

- Of that 140,000 mileage, MnDOT is only directly responsible for about 12,000 of it.

acs
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby acs » January 5th, 2015, 9:52 pm

Before this gets too far, MNDOT has conveniently summarized what they would want to do should they receive increased funding:

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/mns ... t-list.pdf

I strongly recommend giving the full 2014 state highway investment plan a scan before forming opinions, which can be found here:
http://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/mnship/

Judge for yourself whether this is moving us in the right direction or not and if it is worth the investment and risk.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 6th, 2015, 10:29 am

froggie wrote:A couple of things should be noted that may not be clear to some posters:

- That 140,000 mile figure in the article represents ALL roads in Minnesota, not just the highways. So township roads, farm roads, and local residential streets are included in that figure.

- Of that 140,000 mileage, MnDOT is only directly responsible for about 12,000 of it.
I find lane miles to be a better indication of pavement, but you are obviously correct. What this also highlights is that the vast majority of roads people drive on across the state are not funded by user fees (or, only partially via MnDOT's contribution to CSAH/MSAS projects). Even in the 8-county metro (don't ask my why MnDOT includes an eighth county - Chisago - when all other regional numbers only use 7 most of the time), MnDOT-responsible roads (MN trunk highways, interstates, and US highways - the latter 2 also receiving funding from federal sources) represent 4,000 lane miles of 14.7k total lane miles (when you add CSAH + MSAS, ignoring local streets).

The question was asked earlier on fairness of MnDOT spend vs population (vs VMT/use?). Some numbers:

- The state has 29,300 lane miles in MN Hwy/US Hwy/Interstate (2013)
- The 8 county metro district has 4,075 lane miles (13.9% share)
- 2013 8 county metro population: 3.006 million vs Statewide: 5.42 million (55.4% share)
- 2013 8 county metro annual VMT: 27.6 billion vs Statewide: 56.99 billion (48.5% share)
- 2013 8 county metro district MnDOT spend: $606m vs Statewide: $1,468m (41.2% share) (ONLY includes trunk highways)
- **My own estimates of user fees (= gas tax+MVST+Registration. Wheelage fees are marginal & mostly go toward county roads. I can discuss methodology if desired)** 8 county metro: $1.361bn vs Statewide: $2.078bn (65.5% share)

Another thought on expansion vs maintenance. The document I received from MnDOT defines trunk system expansion as "Hard construction dollars used for expansion on roads and bridges shoulder to shoulder" so it may be possible that a large chunk of expansion dollars are being used as preservation given they include full shoulder-to-shoulder costs. Though this is only true if expansion is done at EOL of the road.

froggie
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby froggie » January 6th, 2015, 9:46 pm

Even in the 8-county metro (don't ask my why MnDOT includes an eighth county - Chisago - when all other regional numbers only use 7 most of the time)
This pre-dates the commonly-accepted 7-county metro area...back when District 9 covered today's eastern metro plus Chisago County. In fact, MnDOT's districts have fundamentally been the same for decades...the only change being about 30 years ago when Districts 5 and 9 were combined into the Metro Division.
(MN trunk highways, interstates, and US highways - the latter 2 also receiving funding from federal sources)
There's a common misnomer here that I need to clear up. US highway do not receive any special funding for their status. They are and have always been intended as a unified route numbering system that crossed state lines. While it is true that most of them (at least originally) followed the most important routes, their status does not include any special funding status.

The Interstates are the only route system that has a dedicated pot of Federal funding. But there are numerous Federal highway funding programs that can be used for other routes. For example, Bridge Program funds can be used for ANY public bridge, regardless of bridge jurisdiction (in point of fact, federal funding for township bridges has occasionally showed up in MnDOT's STIP). National Highway System funds are for those routes designated as the most important routes in the state (automatically includes Interstates but also other major routes like 10, 23, 52, 169, and 371, amongst others). Surface Transportation Program funds can basically be used on any road that is functionally classified as a collector or higher (so, effectively, all state/US highways and most of the CSAH/MSAS system).

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 7th, 2015, 9:05 am

Thanks for clarifying that. I guess of all the surface streets that qualify for federal funding, US Highways and Interstates seem to have the largest chunk of federal money as a share of project costs (in my anecdotal experience looking at projects, their functional class, and where the money comes from). The tables here and here seem to indicate that federal money dispersed by the states goes mainly toward interstates and principal arterials, not minor arterials/collectors/etc, so I usually generalize when I talk about federal outlay usage when talking roads. I should be more specific :)

a_tribe_called_chris
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby a_tribe_called_chris » January 8th, 2015, 5:43 pm

Did anyone see the new proposal from Move Mn? I don't think anyone wants to pay more taxes but of their proposals here are my thoughts:

Increase gas tax with a gross receipts tax on top of the current per gallon scheme. OK, I don't like it but it does seem fair and more realistic than a mileage based system.

Institute Metro wide 1 cent sales tax for Transit Projects. Again, if this were to be dedicated exclusively for the purpose of transit funding then yes I would Support it.

The suggestion to raise the registration fees would be the final straw. Enough with the taxes.

Silophant
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Silophant » January 8th, 2015, 7:17 pm

a_tribe_called_chris wrote: I don't think anyone wants to pay more taxes
I will happily pay more taxes, for things I believe in.

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Nick
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Nick » January 8th, 2015, 7:38 pm

I might be biased, but I'm pretty sure that the 25% or 30% or whatever percent of my income that I pay in taxes is 100% worth it when you consider that I live in a civilized place where it's extremely unlikely that I'll be killed and robbed by marauders, everything else is p much a bonus.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 9th, 2015, 12:13 am


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Anondson
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Anondson » January 25th, 2015, 11:28 am

The Urban-Rural divide crashes into the political discussion ... again.

www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/289688071.html

Lots of disgruntlement that rural counties can't afford their infrastructure and need others to pay for it. Seeing all the cranes around downtown Minneapolis fueling jealousy that rural economies are paying for Minneapolis' economic boom and not getting the rewards. There needs to be an intervention, it seems, that rural roads shouldn't be overbuilt beyond what can be afforded when it comes time to replace. Just because your traffic engineer tells you you must build a modern marvel because, "standards", doesn't mean you can.

Silophant
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Silophant » January 25th, 2015, 11:47 am

I emailed that article to several outstate relatives who I had frustrating discussions with on that very subject during the election season. I don't expect it to help.

acs
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby acs » January 26th, 2015, 7:59 pm

These are the graphics Dayton used during the presentation of his transportation plan today. Look at all that blue!

https://www.scribd.com/doc/253791040/tr ... n-maps-pdf

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Anondson
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Anondson » January 26th, 2015, 8:07 pm

Is there an itemized list of each line and dot?

David Greene
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby David Greene » January 26th, 2015, 9:13 pm

acs wrote:These are the graphics Dayton used during the presentation of his transportation plan today. Look at all that blue!

https://www.scribd.com/doc/253791040/tr ... n-maps-pdf
What does "new pavement" mean? Expansion or rebuilding? How is 94 between the cities not marked?

I haven't delved into the details but on the surface, the Senate's bill seems much more transit-worthy. A half cent, Dayton? C'mon!

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Mdcastle
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Mdcastle » January 26th, 2015, 9:52 pm

The version from Dayton's office shows the new US 14 expressway to New Ulm, this version doesn't.

Silophant
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby Silophant » January 26th, 2015, 10:04 pm

Hope that makes the cut. There's a huge amount of truck traffic on 14 between Mankato and New Ulm, to the point where it's scary driving a normal-sized car.

David Greene
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby David Greene » January 26th, 2015, 10:07 pm

Silophant wrote:Hope that makes the cut. There's a huge amount of truck traffic on 14 between Mankato and New Ulm, to the point where it's scary driving a normal-sized car.
Yeah, upgrading 14 is one of the few expansion projects I support. It's super scary to drive on.

froggie
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Re: Condition of Minnesota Roads and what to do...

Postby froggie » January 27th, 2015, 7:07 am

What does "new pavement" mean? Expansion or rebuilding? How is 94 between the cities not marked?
"New pavement" means rebuilding/repaving projects not currently on the docket. Expansion projects were shown as "Mobility Improvements".

My guess as to why 94 wasn't shown is because it's far enough out on the radar screen to not be buildable quickly. As I understand it, MnDOT has not completed an Environmental Assessment either.
Yeah, upgrading 14 is one of the few expansion projects I support. It's super scary to drive on.
I support 23 between Willmar and St. Cloud (really New London to Richmond minus the Paynesville bypass) for similar reasons.

BTW, did anyone else notice the "Oil Rail Corridors" category on the maps?


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