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Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday unveiled an $11 billion transportation proposal to improve the state's aging transit systems, roads, highways and bridges.To help fund the proposals, the plan includes a 6.5 percent gross receipts tax on gas at the wholesale level.Dayton called for $2.92 billion for transit systems, $2.35 billion for local government transportation projects and $6 billion over the next 10 years to address the state's highway transportation funding deficit, according to a press release issued by Dayton's office."Inadequate transportation clogs our lives with worse traffic congestion, longer commutes, more dangerous travel conditions. Those deficiencies restrict our future economic growth and detract from our quality of life," the governor said. On the transit side, the plan would fund 20 new transitways, increase bus service by 27 percent and fund various transit projects, including the proposed Southwest light-rail line that would link Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. The plan also would modernize Metro Transit's technology, such as real-time transit service updates throughout the system.Transit funding over 10 years would add up to $2.8 billion for the Twin Cities metro area, which would be supported by a half-cent sales tax increase in the seven-county region, and $120 million for greater Minnesota transit that would be paid for out of the state's general fund.Dayton urged the Minnesota Legislature to work with him to pass a transportation plan this session."If we continue to avoid these problems, they will only get worse," he said. "It's time to begin to solve them."
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