The Minnesota legislature’s inability to agree on a long-term transportation funding deal has contributed to a $6 billion gap, according to the new head of the state’s transportation department. Legislators generally support additional funding, but political agreement on how to generate it remains undecided.

The $6 billion gap is based on the forecasted revenues of current laws and a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) 20-year investment plan, which is encumbered by road and bridge maintenance funding that leaves little room for construction projects. New MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher told legislatures that 70 percent of future spending is obligated to such work.

To narrow the gap, some members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party have promoted a gas tax increase, which Gov. Tim Walz (D) has previously supported. However, the gas-tax proposal raised staunch opposition from Republican lawmakers who maintain that existing funds should be reallocated to transportation investment.

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