ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House has begun debating a $7.2 billion transportation funding package that includes Gov. Tim Walz’s proposal to raise the state gasoline tax by 20 cents per gallon to pay for road and bridge improvements.

That’s a 70 percent hike that GOP lawmakers have said from the start of the session that they would never accept.

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The bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House by a wide margin when the final vote comes next week. But there’s no gas tax increase in the Senate GOP majority’s transportation plan. And it’s unclear whether even a scaled-back hike can emerge from the negotiations over the final package.

The House adjourned for Passover at midafternoon Friday, putting off the heart of the gas tax debate for when lawmakers return Monday.

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