Dayton unlikely to back oil fee increase

Governor Dayton says he’s not inclined to support a proposal to raise a fee on oil wholesalers to pay for road improvements. Senate Democrats want to lower the state’s gas tax by about six cents and in turn add a 5-and-a-half percent fee on oil wholesalers. The author of the bill, Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, says the change would generate $200 million a year more for roads and bridges. Dayton said the increase would likely be passed down to consumers.

“If it’s going to raise more revenues than the current gas tax then it’s going to result in higher fuel prices for middle-income Minnesotans,” Dayton said. “I think they’re not in a position economically to have that.”

House and Senate Democrats backed off of their push for a higher gas tax after Dayton indicated he wouldn’t support it. The governor said he knows there’s a need for more money for transportation projects but thinks he and others have to discuss the issue with the public more.