Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


GOP leader ‘nervous’ about new MnDOT Commissioner Zelle’s tax comments

Republicans are raising concerns about possible new transportation taxes.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointment Wednesday of Charlie Zelle as state Transportation commissioner has state Republicans a little nervous.

Zelle heads his family business, Jefferson Lines, a regional bus company. He’ll remain CEO of the company but recuse himself from any MnDOT decision involving the company.

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Pat Shortridge said today in statement:

“On MPR this morning, Mr. Zelle said that despite Governor Dayton’s political hesitation, the gas tax will be on the table this year. Zelle didn’t stop there though; he said taxing people for the miles they drive is a ‘great idea’ and should be implemented. Apparently, Governor Dayton’s new Commissioner has a whole host of new taxes waiting for Minnesota families and businesses.

Article continues after advertisement

“While Governor Dayton claimed the gas tax is off the table, his appointee to head the state transportation committee spent his first interview touting an increased gas tax and a new mileage tax. The Governor is sending mixed signals to Minnesota families and businesses. Either the Governor is once again confused about his Administration’s actions (see Stadium, Vikings and Plowing Snow) or he’s trying to mislead Minnesotans about his true intentions.

“Today’s news, coupled with Senate Majority Leader Elect Tom Bakk’s rhetoric earlier this week that every tax increase is on the table, leads me to believe that Minnesotans are going to see an ‘all of the above’ approach when it comes to the DFL’s tax plans this legislative session.”