Gov. Tim Walz Proposes $450 Million Transportation Budget, Would Bring Over $3 Million to Moorhead
It would give $7.7 million to Clay County, which would also help build a new solid waste transfer station
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Governor Tim Walz’s $450 million transportation budget proposal could improve 1,800 miles of roads and replace 300 bridges in Minnesota.
It would also create a variety of long–needed infrastructural changes in Moorhead.
After relying on the same roads for over 50 years, civil engineers are giving half of them a D+ rating and 35 percent of bridges a C.
“This is a real problem for us because what it does is it hampers not only the growth of our communities but the growth of our region,” Margaret Anderson Kelliher, MNDOT commissioner.
Backed up freight lines and traffic congestion are just a few of the reasons Governor Walz is proposing a transportation budget that would raise the state fuel tax by 20 cents a gallon.
“This would be five cents at a time and it’d be over two years. So, a nickel would be raised in September and in April four times in the first two years after it’s passed,” Kelliher said.
The motor vehicle tax and the price of license plate tabs would also go up under the plan.
The sales tax only impacts people buying new cars. MNDOT says for a $30,000 car, the added tax would be around $113.
The Department of Transportation adds since half of registered vehicles in the state are 11-years-old or more, the added cost would be $35 dollars in tab fees.
The most Minnesotans could see added to vehicle fees is around $350.
Kelliher says that can feel like a little pinch to drivers when they start to pay a little extra but it’s not improving roads will end up costing drivers more.
“The conditions of our roads is actually creating more wear and tear on your car. You’re having to go in or do it yourself where your tires are wearing down faster, you’re having axle problems,” Kelliher said. “You might have issues in trying to make it smoothly to where you’re going. This would increase your ability to do that.”
The raise in the gas tax would be offset by a tax credit for individuals of up to $100 and $200 for families under the plan.
The budget would also create a new solid waste transfer station in Clay County and provide a little over $3 million in additional funding for Moorhead’s infrastructure, including an 11th street underpass.
“Traffic mobility is severely impacted at our railroad street intersections. It is estimated there are 106 train blockages of streets per day in Moorhead,” said Mayor Johnathan Judd.
But it becomes an even bigger issue when it starts to affect the safety of everyone in town.
“We know the American Heart Association says that in four to six minutes, brain death occurs. During cardiac arrest, our guys can’t get there. They have to go east or west to get across the tracks so that’s a big deal for us,” said Moorhead Fire Chief Rich Duysen.
Republican State Representative Deb Kiel of Crookston says, “There’s no need for the state to raise taxes by over $3 billion when we have a surplus.”