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Session 2003

Session 2003: Transportation

This was one of the most contentious issues of the special session, but the two sides finally agreed on a borrow-now, pay-later transportation funding plan. The $3.8 billion bill includes money to run the state transportation and public safety departments. But road projects are the centerpiece of the plan. The state would borrow $400 million and seek $300 million to $500 million in federal funds ahead of schedule to pay for up to $900 million in construction work over the next four years.

In a tight budget year, the Minnesota Legislature will get another look at a gas tax proposal. Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Dean Johnson said Monday the state should raise the gas tax by six cents a gallon, a proposal he estimates is worth $5 billion. ( 01/14/2003)
The chair of the Senate Transportation Finance Committee has dusted off last year's plan to boost the state gas tax by pennies on the gallon, but despite support from key legislative leaders, the proposal is likely to meet stiff resistance from Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The new administration has pledged to veto state tax increases of any kind. (01/13/2003)
Major transportation initiatives have been stalled at the state Capitol for the last few years, leading to what some advocates say is a near crisis situation on Minnesota's roads and buses. During the campaign for governor, Republican candidate Tim Pawlenty promised that would change under his leadership. But then came the news of the state's whopping $4.5 billion projected deficit. The deficit -- and Pawlenty's pledge not to raise taxes -- complicate the debate over transportation funding. (01/03/2003)
It turns out that Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty got a two-fer when he named Carol Molnau as his running mate. Pawlenty announced on Tuesday that Molnau will not only serve as Minnesota's Lt. Governor, but as Minnesota's new Transportation Commissioner as well. According to many reports, she will the be first woman to ever head that department, and she is apparently the first Lt. Governor in modern state history to head ANY state agency. ( 01/02/2003)
In an apparent first for state government, Minnesota's next lt. governor will head a state agency. Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty has named Carol Molnau as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Pawlenty says the appointment shows his administration won't be business as usual. (12/31/2002)
Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty says he won't let a massive budget deficit prevent him from proposing a transportation plan next year. The state faces a budget hole of $4.5 billion over the next two-and-a-half years. Pawlenty says his transportation plan won't be as large as he'd like, but he says he can't ignore the state's transportation crunch. (12/06/2002)