MARSHALL (KMHL) – Funding for roads and bridges is being squeezed out of the state’s general fund budget.
That was one of the messages from Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls) following this year’s legislative session.
“If you take a look at the other pieces you have education (E-12), higher education and health and human services that are taking three-quarters of your budget,” said Dahms. “So you’ve got 22-to-25 percent to take care of all of the other things.”
Democrats, including Gov. Tim Walz had been pushing for an increase in the state’s gas tax to fund more transportation projects. That is an idea that Republicans were opposed to during the session.
Dahms said there is room for compromise. He points to a decision lawmakers made a couple of years ago to dedicate a portion of the motor-vehicle sales tax to roads and bridges and notes that it has been quite successful.
“I think the program implemented in 2017 is proven to work and work very well,” said Dahms. “We’ll see if there are opportunities to expand that.”
Dahms says there isn’t a lot of appetite for a 20-cent a gallon gas tax increase in the public right now.