ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Minnesota democrats are showing a united front in the push for a multi-billion dollar transportation project.
Gov. Mark Dayton and top democrats want to raise the gas tax to pay for road and bridge improvements.READ MORE: RCMP Identify Indian Migrant Family Found Dead On Minnesota-Canada Border
During a Thursday press conference, top democrats ramped up the discussion but also showed the party is on the same page with this issue.
In February, Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk had a very public disagreement over pay raises for state commissioners. Two weeks ago, Governor Dayton called Bakk a conniving backstabber
But on Thursday morning, the two stood side by side to show that they have put the past behind them and are joined in the effort to forward their more than $10 billion transportation proposal.
Democrats want to pay for the 10-year road and bridge overhaul with a 6.5 percent gas tax. If you go by today’s gas prices, that’s about 15 cents more for a gallon.
Dayton ramped up his already heated rhetoric about Republicans who control the House. Dayton called their much smaller, no-tax plan “fiction.”READ MORE: 'It’s Pretty Heartbreaking': Fire At Minneapolis Nonprofit House Of Charity Will Impact Many
“No one wants to impose more taxes on people, but you’re not going to solve this problem without revenue,” Dayton said. “It’s either get real or pretend we’re doing something and let it get worse.”
Minnesota last week announced a record $1.9 billion budget surplus, part of which Republicans say should be spent on roads.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt issued a statement Thursday morning calling a gas tax a wrong approach for Minnesota families.
“In the coming weeks, Republicans will unveil our comprehensive plan that invests in Minnesota roads and bridges without raising taxes and taking more money from families. Legislative Democrats and Governor Dayton should acknowledge that most Minnesotans are not supportive of their plan, and that their gas tax increase is regressive and harmful to low and middle-income families. In the meantime, the new House Republican majority will continue working to protect family budgets and standing with the vast majority of Minnesotans who are tired of Democrats’ answer always.”
Republicans say this is just the beginning.
They’ll be travelling to cities all across the state to showcase particularly bad roads and bridges, which they say need work now.MORE NEWS: Bloomington Man Charged With Arson After Allegedly Threatening Ex-Girlfriend, Starting Fire In Her Garage
And even if a road project is approved today, it will be years before work actually begins.