The following article by J. Patrick Coolican was published in the April 30, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.
Gov. Mark Dayton, Speaker Kurt Daudt Renew Call for Transportation Funding
But not much closer; taxes and the Southwest LRT make final consensus difficult.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt softened their tone Friday and sounded hopeful about a transportation package they say is needed to fix crumbling roads and bridges.
But disagreements about where to find the money and mass transit — especially the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit — lurked just below the surface, complicating any path to a deal.
The division comes as lawmakers race in the legislative session’s three remaining weeks to complete unfinished work from 2015 on transportation and taxes, while also taking up a bonding package on infrastructure projects that will stretch to hundreds of millions of dollars.
The House GOP and Dayton and his allies in the DFL-controlled Senate are skirmishing about how to spend the state’s $900 million projected budget surplus, with Dayton and the Senate pushing for new spending on education and other priorities, while Republicans want to split the money between transportation and tax cuts.
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