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He likes big bus: Walz’s budget proposal aims to boost transit

A Line
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Those in the seven-county metro area would face a eighth-of-a-cent sales tax increase — on top of the budget’s 20-cent gas tax increase statewide — if the governor’s $324 million transportation package were adopted.

The bus system in the Twin Cities and surrounding communities received special attention in Gov. Tim Walz’s budget proposal Tuesday: He wants electric coaches, new routes and more frequent service.

The additions, of course, would come at a cost. Those in the seven-county metro area (Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Washington, Dakota, Scott, Carver) would face an eighth-of-a-cent sales tax increase — on top of the budget’s 20-cent gas tax increase statewide — if the governor’s $324 million transportation package were adopted. Over the next few months, state legislators will decide just how much the state will spend on public transit in the coming biennium.

Still, transportation leaders in the metro area are counting Tuesday’s announcement as a win. It comes at a critical point for the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning body, and one of its core divisions: Metro Transit. Both are aggressively touting massive projects — including the upcoming Southwest light rail and a new bus rapid transit line between Minneapolis and Burnsville (the Orange Line) — as key to solving the region’s equity and housing issues. Both are also grappling with the same problems: declining ridership totals and a budget deficit for the region’s bus system. And both have new leaders.

“Bus is the workhorse of the system,” said Metro Transit’s new general manager, Wes Kooistra, in an interview last week. “Part of the solution here is to find sustainable and reliable funding sources … How do we maintain the services we have? How do we maintain our services in a good state of repair? … And we’re making decisions between issues of service frequency and state of repair and long-term asset management because we don’t have enough funds to support the current system.”

Bus ridership down across metro

The regional bus system is facing a deficit of more than $53 million over the next two years — and more than $250 million over the next decade, according to state estimates.

Wes Kooistra
MinnPost photo by Jessica Lee
Wes Kooistra
And though the Met Council has managed to address some of the shortfall with one-time investments, without a different approach the system will “continue to fall behind peer regions,” notes Walz’s budget proposal.

To avoid that, Walz is proposing changes to how the state pays for federally-mandated transit services for seniors and people with disabilities, Metro Mobility. Currently, the service receives money via big transportation packages. Instead, state leaders want to give the program its own budget line. That way, buses would not have to compete with Metro Mobility in the transit funding pool, especially since the service is growing more expensive each year.

“I think that people are starting to understand that investment in buses is worthwhile,” Kooistra said, adding that bus riders account for about 70 percent of the agency’s customer base between bus and light-rail.

The Met Council has already taken steps to expand bus rapid-transit, routes that make limited stops and aim to provide faster rides over longer distances. But Walz’s proposal calls for the system to eventually have 10 such lines across the Twin Cities — an idea Kooistra said would grow the agency’s ridership substantially. The governor also wants a slight funding increase for the bus system’s regular service and money to add 150 new electric buses.

All in all, the ideas aim to boost transit ridership over the next decade by giving passengers a better experience on both buses and light rail. That could also mean better bus shelters and different signal timing.

They come after figures were released last week that show slight declines in ridership of all kinds of regional transit from the University of Minnesota’s campus shuttle to MVTA in the suburbs each year since 2015. Met Council leaders cited a range of possible reasons for why less people are choosing bus transit including a system-wide fare increase in Oct. 2017, a bus-driver shortage and “lower-than-usual” gas prices.

“Ridership is possibly down, in part, because in the past we have divested in poor performing routes, which we should do … and then using that money to invest in higher performing routes,” said Kooistra. “We have been doing the divesting, but we haven’t been doing the investing. So, no wonder ridership is lagging on the bus system when we don’t have the money that we need to invest in truly promising service.”

Not all public transit showed decreased ridership, though: The region’s first bus-rapid-transit line (the A Line), between southwest Minneapolis and the Rosedale Center, which launched in 2016, saw growth in passengers. And light rail ridership also continues to go up. (The Green Line marked 13.8 million rides in 2018 — 5 percent more than 2017. And the Blue Line recorded more than 11 million rides — 3.9 percent more than the year prior.)

How Walz’s transit proposals came to be

Shortly after his election last fall, Walz  announced picks for his cabinet, the 24-member group that leads state agencies. For chair of the Met Council, Walz tapped Nora Slawik, who had served seven terms in the state House as a Democrat before her most recent job, mayor of Maplewood.

Soon after her swearing-in ceremony in early January, Slawik picked Kooistra to lead Metro Transit. He had previously served as the council’s regional administrator which oversees day-to-day operations, including Metro Transit and as its chief financial officer. The council chair also promoted a former aid to the governor, Meredith Vadis, to fill Kooistra’s former position as regional administrator.

Gov. Tim Walz
MinnPost photo by Jessica Lee
Gov. Tim Walz said his proposal for a 20-cent-per-gallon gas-tax hike would roll out over two years and generate new money not only for transit, but also for road and bridge repairs and safety improvements.
In an interview, Slawik said she and the other cabinet members meet with the governor frequently. She said she hired Kooistra as Metro Transit’s general manager, one of the state’s highest-paid public positions, because he understood the administration’s vision for transportation.

Kooistra succeeds Brian Lamb, who led the Department of Administration in the early 2000s under then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty before being tapped to run Metro Transit. There he helped shepherd plans for the Green Line light rail, launched in 2014, as well as the A Line. Ridership totals soared to their highest levels in a generation, and in 2016 the American Public Transportation Association named Metro Transit “System of the Year.”

Plans reflect ‘the way Minnesotans want things to go’

Walz announced his budget proposal to a conference room full of reporters and staff at the state Department of Revenue Tuesday. In his speech, he said his proposal for a 20-cent-per-gallon gas-tax hike would roll out over two years and generate new money for road and bridge repairs and safety improvements. All together, the governor’s proposed tax hikes, which also include increases to vehicle sales taxes and registration fees, would bring in $11 billion for transportation over 10 years.

Under Walz’s proposal, about 90 percent of the state’s motor vehicle sales tax dedicated for transit would go to the Met Council, while the remaining portion for transit would go to MnDOT for systems in Greater Minnesota. Another funding pool specifically for highways is in a separate part of the transportation budget.

Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, said Walz’s proposals for transportation reflect “the way Minnesotans want to see things go right now.”

Slawik also said she is pleased with the governor’s ideas, and she plans to try to generate support among as many legislators and business leaders as possible.

“We want to be in a position where we can decide between what innovation we want to do next. That’s the dream,” Kooistra said.

Comments (46)

  1. Submitted by Betsy Larey on 02/20/2019 - 11:45 am.

    I’m curious as to whether increasing more bus lines willl increase ridership. If it doesn’t, do you keep throwing more money at it? I take the metro in DC and the subway in NY. But it just seems like mass transit is just not convenient in the Twin Cities.

    • Submitted by Eric House on 02/21/2019 - 08:02 am.

      Most likely adding more transit will alleviate your concerns about it not being convenient in the twin cities. There’s a little bit of a death spiral with current services- they aren’t great, so people complain, so money disappears, so they get worse… wash rinse repeat. Hopefully this will lead towards a positive feedback cycle.

    • Submitted by Derek Thompson on 02/21/2019 - 09:37 am.

      Maybe it’s inconvenient because we don’t invest in it? Driving would be inconvenient if we didn’t build freeways all over the place.

  2. Submitted by lee wick on 02/20/2019 - 11:52 am.

    What, and no fare increases?

    • Submitted by Matthew Steele on 02/21/2019 - 12:10 pm.

      There was a fifteen percent fare increase just a couple months ago.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/21/2019 - 03:03 pm.

        Fifteen percent of next to nothing is still next to nothing. The fares should pay for the operating costs. If the fares can’t even cover operating costs then the service shouldn’t exist. It’s business 101 really.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/21/2019 - 04:21 pm.

          Motorists don’t cover the cost of local streets, bridges, and highways.

          By your logic those should not exist. It really boggles my mind why conservatives are so in love with subsidies for autos.

          And to suggest that public infrastructure has anything to do with a profit making business, again, the mind reels.

  3. Submitted by Jon Ruff on 02/20/2019 - 12:55 pm.

    I wholeheartedly endorse improvements to transit.I’m nearing the end of my driving life, and will depend on transit like it or not.
    My huge qualifier is “Have you taken a bus this month (February)?” The weather has made waiting for a bus, that will very likely be late, only to scale curbside terrain that looks like a review of a Will Steger Arctic journey, a case for serious reconsideration.
    Anybody willing to offer insight into how many heated bus or train stops there are in the metro area. I haven’t found any.

    • Submitted by Alex Schieferdecker on 02/21/2019 - 08:58 am.

      This is why frequent service (for example, a bus every ten minutes) is so important. Heated shelters are great, but best of all is when you don’t spend as much time waiting.

    • Submitted by Jack Lint on 02/21/2019 - 11:04 am.

      There are heated bus shelters, but Metrotransit has had a lot of trouble with people breaking the heating elements. According to a report last November, 1200 of the 1500 heat lamps had to be replaced. This is why we can’t have nice things.

      The train stops seem to have more luck with the heating elements. Maybe the rapid bus routes like the A Line will have the same luck.

  4. Submitted by Jim Smola on 02/20/2019 - 01:00 pm.

    Hats off to Governor Walz for addressing much needed funding for our transportation infrastructure and mass transit.

  5. Submitted by Alan Straka on 02/20/2019 - 02:15 pm.

    Shouldn’t transit be funded by fares? I don’t have any problem with buses using the roadways that are paid for by drivers’ gas taxes but I see no reason why we should be subsidizing transit to which many of us have no access. If cities wish to subsidize their transit they should use their property taxes since property values benefit from access to transit. This is just another case of cities benefiting at the expense of rural areas. Walz is forgetting from whence he came but I guess as a Democrat he is rewarding largely Democratic urban areas to the detriment of largely Republican outstate Minnesota (I am an independent who leans Democratic who actually voted for Walz for both congressman and governor so this is not a political statement-well maybe a little).

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/20/2019 - 05:34 pm.

      Oh no, not this non-sense about rural MN subsidizing the Metro again. Yellow Medicine County is not the economic engine that power the state treasury.

      I’m in favor of property tax payers no longer subsidizing drivers.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/21/2019 - 07:56 am.

        You benefit from the roads whether you drive on them or not. Everyone should pay or no one. Eliminate the fuel taxes and use a statewide tax that everyone pays instead…or you can just not go to any store to buy anything.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/21/2019 - 09:57 am.

          It gets frustrating talking about basic economics with conservatives.

          If I don’t drive a private vehicle, but take taxis, or Ubers, or get my groceries delivered, or get products via UPS, those vehicles should pay for the roads. In turn, those costs will be passed on to me proportionally. Property tax payers shouldn’t be burdened with those costs. Any good conservative economist will tell you that hidden subsidies distort the choices people make.

          If I get groceries delivered five days a week, I’ll pay more for that, if vehicles are paying the freight. If property tax payers are picking up the tab, I’m getting a free ride. Why conservatives don’t get this is odd.

          • Submitted by Matthew Steele on 02/21/2019 - 12:18 pm.

            Frank, I came here to say exactly what you said, but you said it perfectly. The only thing I would add is that the government social engineering Alan is proposing essentially picks winners and losers rather than relying on individuals and businesses to figure out how to operate efficiently without subsidy. What Alan proposes would deepen the subsidization of supply chains that require more distance traveled, it would deepen the subsidy of individual living and working arrangements where Points A and B are continually moving further away from each other, etc.

            I take it Alan is a conservative, which is why I’m shocked that he doesn’t see that direct user fees based on the expense of one’s choice (if an individual or business relies on motor vehicle transportation, and if so then how much) would cause a level playing field that would further efficiencies in how individuals and businesses operate while also driving more efficiencies in how the state provisions road capacity and resources.

            • Submitted by Alan Straka on 02/22/2019 - 02:35 pm.

              I consider myself middle of the road politically, more liberal socially, slightly more conservative fiscally. I don’t consider myself libertarian but I voted for Johnson for president (that Trump had no chance in MN allowed me to do so). I do support a robust safety net, Medicaid, SNAP, WIC and so on. My point on the property tax was that those who own property with access to mass transit have higher property values because of that access and that excess should be taxed to subsidize transit not the entire value of the property, think of it as tax increment financing. Figuring the amount is the fly in the ointment. As for Frank’s example of Uber, taxis and the rest, they pay their share through the gas tax they pay when filling their tanks. Those who use those services pay their share through the charges they pay to the service. Owners of those services, unlike mass transit, are not subsidized and pay the full cost then pass those costs on to their customers hence my comment that fares should cover operating cost plus a share of the fixed cost. The point I was trying to make is that the cost of transit should be born by those who benefit. There are some things that we all should pay for because we all benefit but mass transit is a local benefit.

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/21/2019 - 03:12 pm.

            Your economic knowledge appears quite lacking. You benefit from the roads even if you never drive on them. That is a simple fact. If you didn’t benefit you’d be growing your own food and making all your own products because you couldn’t buy any of that from any store. No roads means no goods in any stores.

            You are getting a somewhat free ride because you aren’t paying the same as others who do drive. You are also massively subsidized by others when you use mass transit.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/22/2019 - 10:56 am.

              Bob, You also benefit from transit even if you never use it, that’s a simple fact. How many of the people you rely on every day get to work via transit?

              I think you asked a question about whether or not or why fares do or don’t cover transit costs. Google “fair recovery rates”. I don’t think there’s a transit system in the world that collects 100% fair recovery rates. And given the budget deficits and repeated bail outs, there’s no road system in the world that pays for itself either.

    • Submitted by Scott Walters on 02/20/2019 - 10:31 pm.

      I’d exercise caution in heading down the subsidy road. One could argue that there are way too many roads in rural areas, and we should readjust our financing mechanisms accordingly. For example, there are only 0.008 lane miles of roadway per person in Ramsey County – the county with the least roadway per person, while by this measure, the most over-roaded County in Minnesota is Kittson, with 0.728 lane miles of road per person. Obviously, this makes no sense. Different regions have different needs, and we are all in this together. How about you don’t complain about Ramsey’s needs for buses and trains, and I won’t complain about Kittson’s needs for what appears by this obviously misleading but exceptionally accurate measure to be a massively overbuilt highway network.

      • Submitted by Matthew Steele on 02/21/2019 - 12:34 pm.

        Where did you find this data? I’ve been curious about this for years. Bonus if it breaks down lane-miles-per-capita based on jurisdiction or funding. You prove what I’ve long suspected about overall roadway capacity (and expense) per capita being significantly higher in rural counties, but I would also guess that there’s a significantly higher percentage of people who live and/or work on state-funded trunk highways or county / municipal state aid roadways.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/24/2019 - 03:15 pm.

        Yes, we have the 4th largest road network in the nation, and the 22nd largest population. I ran some numbers once and found that we have more road miles per capita than CA, FL, TX, and WI.

        We are overbuilt, and the vast majority of that overbuilding is in rural MN. Rural Minnesotan’s did NOT pay for their roads, and by and large do not pay to maintain them. On the other hand, our entire system is in decades behind in terms of maintenance.

    • Submitted by Derek Thompson on 02/21/2019 - 09:39 am.

      Shouldn’t roads be covered by user fees?

    • Submitted by JUDITH MONSON on 02/21/2019 - 10:34 am.

      What seems to be absent from all this so prevalent talk about urban/rural divide is the question of ‘is there one”– or have we just invented it to justify the isolationism of our own way of thinking? Do we, no matter where we or others live, not care about how all of us arrive to or depart from where we need to be? Because I both enjoy driving and can also afford a car, should I insist every person be equally prosperous and do the same? I’ve lived my life in both rural and urban. In neither was I encouraged to believe that transportation to and from wherever was not a common need. “Me against them” is not helpful thinking, especially in a democracy. Aren’t we all in this together, without regard to political party?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/24/2019 - 03:08 pm.

        The urban rural “divide” is just another manufactured division flowing out of Republican strategists imaginations. The funny thing is that to the extent rural people fall for it, it will backfire on them.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/21/2019 - 10:37 am.

      Cities do not benefit at the expense of rural areas. The exact opposite is true. Without being heavily subsidized by the metro, rural Minnesota would shrivel up and die.

    • Submitted by Matthew Steele on 02/21/2019 - 12:14 pm.

      Roads are not “paid for by drivers’ gas taxes,” not even close. The Tax Foundation (a conservative think tank) tracks these revenues for every state, and gas tax (along with all other user fees combined, such as wheelage tax, MVST, tolls, etc) cover FAR less than half of total road costs in Minnesota. And not to mention the MN legislative auditor reports that 84% of all streets in Minnesota are funded -entirely- by local tax revenues (primarily the property tax). So the general fund is cross-subsidizing motorists in Minnesota, and people-who-don’t-drive-or-drive-less are heavily subsidizing people-who-drive-more.

    • Submitted by Tom Crain on 02/23/2019 - 01:55 pm.

      Yes, transit should be funded partially by fares and it is.

      In MN transit is funded 25% by fares, 55% MV sales tax, 8% State General Fund, 10% County/Local tax.

      For transit funding across the US (according to 2017 APTA) it is a higher 37% that is funded via fares.

      There are good reasons funding should be shared by metro non-users as well as out state non-users. For those traveling in Twin Cities metro, a transit system it is a matter of necessity based on pop density. Imagine132,000 additional cars on the road during rush hour. Add in costs for time lost in gridlock, parking facilities, emissions and it becomes obvious why transit should be subsidized.

      For total transit spending – including roads/bridges – even when state money for transit is factored in, greater Minnesota still receives 22 percent more state transportation money than the metro, according to three years of transportation funding data. Consider there are 255,000 lane miles in greater Minnesota against about 39,000 in the metro area. Meanwhile revenue from vehicle/fuel sales tax and registration fees is about 50/50 split coming from Rural/Metro.

  6. Submitted by Sean Olsen on 02/20/2019 - 03:21 pm.

    This will prove to be example #2974 of Republican claims that “we like buses!” are just empty words when — ahem — the rubber hits the road.

  7. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/21/2019 - 07:55 am.

    So it’s already losing 20+ million a year and Walz wants to double down ? Nothing like throwing good money after bad. Raise fares and make the riders pay for the service. Same with light rail. If that doesn’t work then shut it down or make local people pay for it if they want it.

    • Submitted by Alex Schieferdecker on 02/21/2019 - 08:59 am.

      Calculate the subsidy for state highways next.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/21/2019 - 09:51 am.

      How much are we sing on the trunk highway system every year?

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/21/2019 - 03:16 pm.

        First off, apples to oranges. Secondly, Every person in the State benefits from those highways. Very few benefit from buses and light rail in the twin cities. The highway funding system is far from perfect but it’s still a lot better than mass transit. Mass transit should pay for itself or not exist.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/21/2019 - 04:32 pm.

          Again Bob, if I get goods and services via private vehicles I don’t own, the owners of those vehicles pass those costs on to me.

          I’ve never driven, and likely never will drive in Jackson County. But if those folks use those roads to get to work, and pay income taxes, yup, I benefit. And in the same way, I benefit from LRT I don’t use, as those LRT users get to work by using LRT. They go to stores, and restaurants. And those activities result in payments to the state treasury.

          There is no way you can tell me I DO benefit from a trunk highway in Jackson County but I DON’T benefit from LRT.

          Conservatives like to say that corporations don’t pay taxes, they just pass those costs onto consumers. They also like to say that apartment building owners don’t pay property taxes, they just raise the rent accordingly.

          This is cognitive dissonance writ large.

          When automobile drivers, like me, pay the full freight for roads, then we can talk about transit subsidies.

        • Submitted by Scott Walters on 02/21/2019 - 07:25 pm.

          Every person in this state also benefits from a robust transit network. Which network, I might add, generates far more revenue than the state highway network. If we judge just based on revenue returned for dollars invested, we would never build another mile of highway, but would build rail lines everywhere! Think about it for just a moment.

        • Submitted by Eric House on 02/22/2019 - 08:24 am.

          Wow- comparing transportation types is apples to oranges? I’ve seen poor logic on these pages before, but that might take the cake.

          No one pays full freight for their transportation mode. not cars, not busses, not airplanes, not railroads. All are subsidized through various governmental interventions. and that’s fine. The question is what’s the ‘best’ mix of ways to get our goods and people to the places where they need to go. In some places it will be roads, and in some places it will be mass transit. Whichever mix we choose- we should make it the best possible. Our roads should be high quality, and so should our transit systems. As a state we’ve traditionally made huge investments in our roads- hell we just spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a bridge for people living in Wisconsin. it’s time to make a similar investment in transit systems for people who actually live in Minnesota too.

  8. Submitted by John DeWitt on 02/21/2019 - 12:01 pm.

    In 2003, the year before the Blue Line (Hiawatha) opened, 100% of Metro Transit’s trips were by bus. The logic we’re seeing here would suggest that because 100% of all trips were by bus, there was no need for light rail. This was the argument from 1973 to 1998 – all we need is better bus service.

    Yes, light rail provided only 30% of Metro Transit’s trips but that’s just two light rail lines. The Green Line alone provided 8.3% of all Metro Transit service. The 70% of the service provided by bus includes some 200 routes.

    The Red Line was our first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service and runs from the Mall of America to Apple Valley. A few years ago I compared the operating costs of the Red Line and the Blue Line. The Red Line cost $14.22 per trip; the Blue Line $2.82. If low cost is the goal, the Red Line wins. But if the goal is to move more people in a cost effective manner, the Blue Line wins hands down.

    The ‘A’ Line – Arterial Rapid Transit on Snelling Avenue – saw ridership grow by 1,500 riders a day. If this is an average, the 10 Arterial BRT lines proposed would grow ridership by 15,000. The Green Line alone grew ridership on the University Avenue corridor by 20,000 riders a day.

    The border between Minneapolis and St. Paul along the Green Line is now referred to as the “Billion Dollar Border” because of all the development spurred mostly by the Green Line. It’s doubtful that we’d see similar development along any Arterial BRT line.

    This is in no way intended to diminish the importance of improvements in bus service. We need those. But to really work, we need a robust bus system built around a robust light rail network.

  9. Submitted by Morris Steckman on 02/22/2019 - 06:31 pm.

    One would think if they actually had deticated traffic officers that ticketed red light runners Minnesota would have all kinds of monney for new rail lines.
    I am sure there would be a lot of peoplenusing a lightbrail line if it ran from St.Cloud to the Twin Cities. The traffic is almost a dead stop on the freeway around rodgers and into the cities in the mnornings at times. Way too much traffic on 94.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/23/2019 - 10:30 am.

    It’s always funny when Republicans complain about fair recovery for transit while ignoring the cost of roads and bridges. Someone is aghast at the fact that it’s costing $20 million a year to run transit!

    Listen, our roads and bridges cost $450 million a year, and we’re a trillion dollars in debt unless you ignore the spending needed to bring existing degraded infrastructure up to specs. And “no” drivers aren’t “paying” the freight, if the were our system wouldn’t be degraded, and we wouldn’t be bonding to the tune of hundreds of millions every two years.

  11. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/23/2019 - 02:30 pm.

    Actually, drivers don’t cover more than about half of the cost of roads. As a property tax payer, I’m covering a big share of those costs.

    Second, I do benefit from roads I never use. When farmers can get crops to the grain elevator, I win. When Arctic Cat can get parts, and assemble them into ATVs and snowmobiles, I win. When a teacher can get to Pipestone High School to educate the future workforce, I win. See how that works?

    Similarly, when an account gets to work on LRT, I win.

    We all do better when we all do better. And getting to work or school allows us all to do better.

    Sure beats the philosophy of the GOP, which is “Hey, that guy wants to spend your tax dollars in another part of the state!”

  12. Submitted by Phyllis Kahn on 02/24/2019 - 08:08 am.

    A solution we should look that is used in some foreign cities: cabs that can roam the city and stop and pick up anyone along the way as long as there is room. more flexibility and less space than buses. There is a special name for them that I can’t remember.

  13. Submitted by Scot Kindschi on 02/24/2019 - 01:56 pm.

    Just be sure and remove all buses from Nicolette Mall.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/25/2019 - 08:36 am.

    It’s kind of funny how Republicans only seem to discover the concept of regressive taxes when we talk about a gas tax.

    OK, fine, it’s “regressive”. So then what taxes to YOU want to raise to pay roads and infrastructure maintenance? Oh, that’s right, the Republican “plan” is the magic plan… as long as we don’t raise taxes the roads will fix themselves. And if we actually CUT taxes the roads will build AND fix themselves even faster! I know that sounds like a brilliant idea, but we’ve actually tried it and bridges collapse and the system is a trillion dollars in decline… I’m beginning to suspect there might be no such thing as magic? We might actually have to find funding somewhere and spend it?

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