MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz is scheduled to unveil his budget on Tuesday and is expected to call for an increase in the gas tax.
But that is not going to be an easy sell for Republicans who control the Minnesota Senate.
Gov. Tim Walz cruised to victory in November, beating his Republican opponent Jeff Johnson by 11 points. Walz clearly feels he has a mandate on some issues, most notably, increasing the Minnesota gas tax by as much as 10 cents to provide more money for roads and bridges.
Walz campaigned on a gas tax hike, and in testimony before Congress earlier this month, he said whenever he talked about raising the gas tax on the campaign trail, his poll numbers went up. But Senate Republicans have dismissed the notion of raising the gas tax as a non-starter, especially with a $1.5 billion surplus. Gov. Walz was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.
“The question is, is Minnesota going to get a world-class transportation system? Or are you going to get more gridlock, longer commutes, deficient bridges?” Walz said. “So the question is, in Minnesota, that we were able to talk to people, is quit promising people something for free unless you talk about how you are going to pay for it.”
“Walz estimates that for every penny the gas tax is raised, another $30 million would be generated for road and bridge repairs. Right now, Minnesota’s gas tax is at 28.5 cents, which is almost exactly the national average.