As counties and states discuss how best to fund transportation, area readers believe Minnesota should bear more of the brunt of transportation costs, according to a Free Press member poll.
Out of 226 total respondents, 178 — almost 79 percent — believe the state should bear transportation costs. Only 48 respondents believed counties should bear the brunt of the costs.
As Minnesota has grappled with how best to pay for transportation infrastructure over the past few years, counties have stepped up across the state by raising sales taxes to cover more costs. Nicollet County recently passed a half-cent sales tax to go toward transportation repairs, one of the last counties in the region to do so.
Transportation funding comes from a variety of county, state and federal funding. Yet counties have had to pick up more of the bill in recent years, and county officials across Minnesota are calling on the state to address more transportation funding.
Lawmakers passed a transportation bill earlier this year that adds more than $300 million in funding over the next year, but counties would like to see more money from the state to offset rising local costs.
The Free Press online poll, sent to readers on July 27, asked the question, “Nicollet County just passed a half-cent sales tax for transportation needs. Should counties or the state bear transportation costs?”
There were two options to answer, “yes” or “no.”
Commenters agreed both entities need to pay their fair share under current transportation funding, with counties paying for county roads and states helping to fund larger roadways. Yet many believed the state should do more to fund transportation issues.
“Counties should raise money to help repair county roads in general,” wrote Mark Brown. “However, counties like Watonwan, that has little retail, cannot…