Following state legislation approved earlier this year, Anoka and Ramsey counties of the Twin Cities metropolitan region last week voted to enact a quarter-cent sales tax beginning this July to pay for transit projects.
Hennepin County is expected to approve the tax as soon as this week and three other counties in the region are still deciding whether to impose the tax. Carver County has rejected the tax because part of the county is rural and does not rely on public transit.
The $6.6 billion transportation package approved by lawmakers earlier this year gave the counties in the Twin Cities region the ability to levy the tax that could raise as much as $100 million to finance transit improvements.
The transportation package at the state level relies on higher fees and taxes, including the gasoline tax. It was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but in a bipartisan vote, the Legislature overrode the veto — a first for Pawlenty. The package relies on nearly $2 billion of new general obligation backed borrowing that would be repaid with transportation-related taxes and fees that flow into the Minnesota’s trunk highway fund.