House Republicans offer deal to break transportation impasse

House Republicans have offered a transportation compromise that uses the existing sales tax on car parts to become a portion of a new dedicated funding stream for roads and bridges.

“The sales tax on auto parts is really the foundation of where we’re at,” said House Transportation Chair Tim Kelly.

The DFL’s Senate Transportation Chair, Scott Dibble called it a non-responsive offer to the Senate’s concessions and a recitation of past positions on transportation funding.

The House GOP plan would create a Transportation Stability Fund as a dedicated revenue source. Rep. Kelly says the GOP offer would provide $6 billion for roads and bridges during the next ten years.

The plan would shift the auto parts sales tax revenues now going into the state’s general fund and redirect them into the new Transportation Stability Fund. The auto parts tax alone would contribute $229 million in 2017 and $487 million in 2018-19.

The House plan also calls for using $300 million from the general fund in 2017, $271m in 2018, and $383m in 2019.

The offer comes as legislative leaders decided a transportation compromise is needed before work can begin on a bonding bill and tax bill.

“We will get a transportation package. That’s what we’ve been saying from the start. We will get this done,” Kelly said.

But the GOP offer included no money for transit and light rail. Kelly says they are holding back on transit until the Senate makes the commitment to remove its demands for an increase in the gas tax.

Sen Dibble said the officer is a disappointment.

“But I do hope that it does propel the larger conversation with our leadership because now they’re articulated that they want to solve this before taxes, bonding supplemental,” Dibble said.