Transportation funding resolution on board agenda

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners will consider a resolution Tuesday for a legislative bill that would invest more than $3 billion for needed highway and transit improvements over the next four years.

Bill provisions, according to the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) include $331.9 million to counties each year, authorization of $800 million in trunk highway bonds, a gas tax hike of five cents a gallon this year, a 1.5 cent fuel surcharge each year for three years to pay for highway bonding debt service, hiking license tab fees from 1.25 percent to 1.375 percent of vehicle values and increasing the flat tax paid by all vehicle owners by $10.

State sales tax on all automobile parts and services would be extended. Half of the revenue would go to County State Aid Highways (CSAH), a fourth to Metro Transit and a fourth to Greater Minnesota transit, ($87 million a year to counties).

The bill authorizes a statewide wheelage tax with no cap and authorizes Greater Minnesota counties to levy local option sales taxes for transportation by county board resolution.

Cities would be authorized to create Street Improvement Districts, according to the Request for Board Action (RBA).

Late license tab fees would be 5 percent of registration tax, with $19.7 million going to counties as highway user taxes.

Additional funds would improve chances of completing the U.S. Highway 14 four-lane conversion from two to four lanes between New Ulm and Rochester, according to the RBA.

Commissioners will also consider:

Hiring Madsen Surveying for the 2013 Lake Hanska and Linden township re-monumentation projects. The firm was hired to re-monument Cottonwood Township last year. The project was successfully completed, to proposal specifications, according to the RBA.

An invitation to participate in a Brown County Recreational Trails Open House, informational meeting, 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 23 at the Sleepy Eye Community Center, 115 2nd Avenue N.E. Runners, walkers, bicyclists, in-line skaters, snowmobilers, skiers, and all others are welcome.

A Joint Powers Agreement among county governments has established a legal format for the project. A map of low-volume, paved roads connecting sites of interest has been prepared.

A brief PowerPoint presentation will be shown at 5:15 and 6:15 p.m. It will report on the background and status of the project. Proposed trails and routes will be outlined. Questionnaires will be used to record ideas and opinions.

Coalition members include Ed and Mary Schotzko and Dean and Diane Ibberson of Sleepy Eye; Mac Tilberg of Springfield, Terry and Mary Ann Baumgart, Terry Sveine and George Glotzbach of New Ulm. The coalition seeks more representatives from all Brown County locations and interests.

For more information, contact Kurt Kramer, Sleepy Eye EDA Coordinator at 507-794-5636.

The county board meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the courthouse commissioner’s room.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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