Former MN State Transportation Commissioner: "A sobering reminder that our system is aging"

Categories: Minneapolis

Elwyn Tinklenberg, who served as the state's transportation commissioner under Jesse Ventura, says the 35W bridge collapse is emblematic of an eroding, underfunded transportation system.

He points to a recent MNDOT assessment, which concludes that the state is underfunding transportation maintenance by a billion dollars a year. "That is not sustainable," Tinklenberg says. "We can't afford to do that and expect our system to continue to perform safely."

So, what to do? Tinklenberg calls for a gasoline tax hike. The last time the state raised the gas tax--which stands at 20 cents a gallon and is a key component of the state's transportation budget--was in 1988. In May, Governor Pawlenty vetoed a five cent gas tax increase, saying such a hike would be "untimely and misguided."

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