Dayton orders transportation finance study

Gov. Mark Dayton has directed his transportation commissioner to come up with some new ways to pay for needed improvements in the the state’s highway and transit systems.

Dayton announced today that MnDOT chief Tom Sorel will form a special finance advisory group, with a report due to the Legislature in December. During a Capitol news conference, Dayton said too many roads are deteriorated and congested. He also noted that current available transportation revenue is insufficient for the projected needs.

“I’m not interested in nickel and dime modifications to our status quo, because our status quo is getting worse,” Dayton said. “I want to see what we can do in a really significant way that’s going to change this template from continued deterioration to improvement.”

Dayton suggested taking a more aggressive approach to bonding and tapping available federal funds. Sorel said MnDOT is already studying a potential tax on motorists based on the miles they drive.