This post was in response to several news articles about Minnesota Governor Pawlenty's transportation funding proposal from 2006.  This was posted on February 1, 2006.

Minnesota Governor proposes $2.5 billion spending plan

Otherwise known as (to borrow a quote from Monte Castleman) "Funny Money, Part 2".

Gov. Pawlenty today announced a $2.5 billion borrowing plan to accelerate several high-profile highway projects across Minnesota, including some that have had very public delays in their schedules due to ongoing funding and budget problems within MnDOT.

Pawlenty's plan hinges on passage of a Constitutional amendment on this November's ballot. Currently, about 56% of the MVST is legislatively dedicated to transportation. The amendment would dedicate 100% of the state's motor vehicle sales tax to roads and transit (in a 60/40 split), and being a Constitutional amendment would make that permanent and not at the whim of the state Legislature (as it has been for the past 20 years). The transfer would be phased in through FY 2012.

Assuming passage of the amendment, Pawlenty's plan would use that additional revenue (roughly $160 million a year for MnDOT's share, by my estimate) as leverage for the $2.5 billion in bonds.

While I support passage of the Constitutional amendment (which would be MnDOT's first REAL funding increase in almost 2 decades), I'm not convinced on tying up that extra money in paying back bonds.

Several news articles on the announcement, including from the StarTribune, KSTP-TV, the Pioneer Press, and a press release from the Governor's office.

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