Senate passes transportation bill; Minnesota budget advances | www.WDIO.com

Senate passes transportation bill; Minnesota budget advances

The Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul The Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul |  Photo: KSTP-TV

WDIO
Created: June 24, 2021 03:37 PM

Minnesota lawmakers have made more progress toward completing the next state budget.

The Senate gave unanimous final approval Thursday to a $7.3 billion transportation bill and sent it to the governor.

Five of a dozen must-pass budget bills now await Gov. Tim Walz's signature. And negotiators earlier Thursday announced an agreement on the big health and human services budget. That leaves the public safety budget bill as the only remaining must-pass legislation on which lawmakers have yet to make a deal.

Negotiators for Senate Republicans and House Democrats remain divided on whether to include new police accountability measures.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Senate approved a comprehensive, bipartisan transportation budget agreement that invests billions into the state's transportation infrastructure. This comes without a gas, mileage or sales tax, or a license tab fee increase, according to the Senate's spokesperson. 

The bill has also been approved by the House of Representatives and will next find its way to Gov. Tim Walz's desk for his signature. 

The transportation budget agreement provides $7.8 billion for state roads, including construction, development and maintenance. That includes $3.68 billion for state road construction and $300 million for Corridors of Commerce, according to a release. The bill also provides an additional $14 million for local bridges and an additional $5.5 million for the Local Road Improvement Program, as well as an additional $30 million for small city and township roads. 

"The Senate Republicans have prioritized investing in roads and bridges for transportation every budget and this year is no different. This bill will reduce congestion across the state and make the roads safer for drivers, so they can spend less time in the car and more time with their families," Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) said. "I'm particularly proud we were able to expand resources for law enforcement through increases in the number of State Patrol personnel and raises for the officers who have been providing crucial safety support during the last year of rioting, protest, and civil unrest." 

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