Minnesotans Still Don’t Want A Gas Tax

In the wake of the bridge collapse, a local television station polled Minnesotans to see whether they would support a gas tax to generate more money for roads and bridges. Despite the proximity of the collapse — it had only been a week since the St. Anthony Bridge fell into the Mississippi, killing 13 — 57% of Minnesotans opposed the tax increase. Two months later, Minnesotans haven’t changed their minds:

Minnesotans aren’t clamoring for action from state leaders in the wake of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found, supporting neither a gas tax increase nor a new special session to fund bridge repairs.
The poll found 50 percent of respondents opposed raising the gas tax, while 46 percent supported it. The gap is within the poll’s margin of sampling error — 4 percentage points, plus or minus.
The poll, which surveyed 802 Minnesota adults Sept. 18 through 23, also indicates that the public doesn’t fault Gov. Tim Pawlenty or the DFL-led Legislature for not dealing with the bridge collapse in a recent special session.
Sixty-eight percent approved of the way Pawlenty handled the disaster, and 58 percent approved of the Legislature’s handling of it.

Perhaps Minnesotans have a stronger resolve than most people credit. In the wake of the collapse, politicians like Elwyn Tinklenburg, James Oberstar, and Amy Klobuchar insisted that low taxes had to go in order to make Minnesota safe. One local deranged columnist declared six hours after the collapse that David Strom of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and Tim Pawlenty were to blame for opposing tax increases.
Minnesotans simply didn’t buy the rhetoric. They saw through all of the fingerpointing, noting eventually that Oberstar did his best to route funds away from bridge and highway repair and into bike paths and visitor centers. They also found out that MnDOT has a $2.2 billion budget, more than twice that of public safety, and that perhaps adding to that budget should take second place to verifying that its existing money gets spent properly first.
In other words, Minnesotans are smarter and more sophisticated than the New York Times, Nick Coleman, and its allies think. We want an accounting for the money already given to MnDOT and the state government before we start giving even more of it. We want to know why an agency that already gets almost 9% of the entire state budget couldn’t see the collapse coming, and we want to know why our politicians think bike paths should get priority spending ahead of bridge inspections and repairs. When the government takes itself more seriously, then perhaps we’ll look at more taxes — but then, perhaps, they’ll prove unnecessary.

8 thoughts on “Minnesotans Still Don’t Want A Gas Tax”

  1. It would appear that Minnesotans are not a dumb as the MSM had hoped. And given the fact that al-Strib’s own poll showed a majority opposed tax increases, you cannot help but wonder how big the margin would grow to if they were to do an honest poll.
    Still, MSM prospects may brighten considerably if the GOP does its usual roll-over-and-play-dead act.

  2. “We want to know why an agency that already gets almost 9% of the entire state budget couldn’t see the collapse coming, and we want to know why our politicians think bike paths should get priority spending ahead of bridge inspections and repairs.”
    The premise of this statement is incorrect, and it’s why you are having a hard time understanding how things work.
    In fact, the politicians you folks elected DID see the bridge collapse coming. They pay smart people to tell them which bridges are nearing collapse, and the engineers told them this bridge was structurally unsound. Many other bridges await their collapse at any moment. The state has a list of them and will tell you exactly where they are.
    Those very same politicians then did nothing about it. And you know what … the people of Minnesota re-elected them.
    Why? Because they got bike paths. Politicians understand that they aren’t at risk politically when bridges collapse killing Minnesotans. Hell, now they want to TAX you for it! But if you vote against a bike path … woe is the politician who tries that.
    Until Minnesotans get serious about de-electing the politicians skating in their elections (just go look up the percentage who are re-elected every election cycle), then you can look forward to getting that which you so richly deserve.
    Good luck with that.

  3. This Minnesota attitude towards taxes hearkens back to the days of whether or not the citizens should pay for a new stadium. Each time the issue came to a vote, the citizens said “not one thin dime” to millionaires for a new venue, even when threatened with losing the franchise to another state.
    I lived in Farmington at that time, since moved to Virginia, and I’m glad to see the citizenry still standing together against un-needed taxes.

  4. It is amasing to me that a bridge falls down and all that goes on is finger pointing? Now it comes out that MNDOT is broke and looking for money out of the general fund to replace the I-35 bridge. Also the cost for the new bridge is approaching 400 million and it looks like some legal battles are coming from the competing contactors – two of which think they were shortchanged by MNDOT. Looks like a new bridge to replace the I-35 is a long way off in the future.
    I think since this is a federal bridge situated on the route that will be the future NAFTA super highway, someone should be thinking about an alternate plan. Why not get the Army Corps of engineers to build a temporary bridge off to the side of the path of the I-35 bridge that collapsed and keep that “black hole” MNDOT out of it? Then when the federal government is ready to put the money up for the new I-35 bridge for the NAFTA super highway they vision, they can build the bridge then.
    In the mean time it looks like MNDOT also needs an overhaul, and maybe some dead wood can get removed.
    I am still trying to fathom why no one in MNDOT called for the I-35 bridge to be closed when it is apparent that they knew it was in bad shape.
    I would think that the federal government must have had a budget for the maintenance of this bridge? If MNDOT was responsible for the maintenance of the bridge, where did the money get spent? Surely there was more money than just for inspections. What good are inspections if no one reads the conclusions, recommendations, etc., and acts on them???
    I don’t get it.

Comments are closed.