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Transportation Plan? Not Really.

GOP shifts and gimicks 2The GOP just announced their transportation “plan,” and I use the word plan generously. Despite their claims, the Republicans want to shift and borrow money, and use budgeting gimmicks (sound familiar?) rather than responsibly fix our roads and bridges across the state.

Don’t believe the Republican double-talk about this being new revenue: their plan does nothing more than shift existing revenue, and fail to account for where that will be cut.

Here’s how the Republican plan shakes out:

  • $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds
  • $1.05 billion in GO bonds
  • $1.2 billion from “realigning MNDoT resources”
  • $228 million from the surplus
  • $3.078 billion from shifting around already existing tax revenue

So, where exactly is the new money? Here are some thoughts for your consideration:

The so-called “Road and Bridge Act of 2015” should really be called the Shift and Gimmick Act of 2015. Bonds=borrowing. Using already existing revenues=shifting. “Realigning resources”=gimmick at best, drastic cuts at worst. Where are Republicans going to cut $1.2 billion from the Department of Transportation and still expect it to do anything?

And oh, remember that time Republicans said they were going to give the whole surplus back? I guess that doesn’t include when they need to shift money to look like they care about a long-term comprehensive proposal to repair and replace Minnesota’s roads and bridges.

One more thing: Republicans are bragging about giving $32 million over the next two years to Greater Minnesota transit. Small catch: Gov. Dayton proposes dedicating $120 million over the next decade to Greater Minnesota transit, which would serve 90% of the projects needed by 2025. That will fund 500,000 additional hours of Greater Minnesota transit service each year.

No matter how you slice it, the Shifts and Gimmicks Act of 2015 is nothing more than a smoke screen. We need a real, long-term, comprehensive approach to fixing Minnesota’s aging roads and bridges, not more Republican budget plans that could put us back on the budget deficit rollercoaster.

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