County boards take up transit fundingby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Over the next few weeks, the seven counties in the metropolitan area are expected to take up the issue of transit funding.
The transportation bill allows counties to enact a quarter cent sales tax that would go towards mass transit projects.
The sales tax increase could raise an estimated $100 million a year, if it is passed by all seven county boards. The money would go towards new rail and bus lines across the metro area.
Bob Vogel, chair of the Scott County board, said transit funding is critical to the future of the state. But he said tax increases are an unfair burden on residents who are already maxed out by the economic downturn.
"While I think there is a need to address the transportation funding issues that we have, I am not one that believes it can be corrected by increasing the tax burden constantly, because I am really concerned that people just don't have the resources to continue to pay higher and higher taxes," said Vogel.
He said Scott County's transportation needs are road repair, expansion and safety, not new transit.
He said the current road system cannot handle the population increase the county has experienced in recent years.
Scott County will begin looking at the transit tax issue during a special workshop on Tuesday.