|1997 Fiscal Review Appropriations - Transportation|
The 1997 Legislature appropriated more than $2.6 billion to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for the 1997-99 biennium, approximately a 14 percent increase over the previous biennium. MnDOT's appropriations by fund and percentage of funding are shown in the table below.
Biennial Appropriations by Fund
|Fund||1997-99||% of Total|
|County State Aid Highway||645,801,000||24.5%|
|Municipal State Aid Street||195,844,000||7.4%|
The majority of MnDOT's funding is from the trunk highway fund. This fund receives 62 percent of the revenues generated by the state's vehicle registration taxes and 20-cent per gallon motor fuel tax. In addition, the trunk highway fund receives federal highway aid for road construction. For the 1997-99 biennium, the federal funds are estimated to be $450 million, approximately 26 percent of MnDOT's total trunk highway fund appropriation.
The following table provides a list of appropriations for MnDOT's primary activities, along with the percentage of total appropriations for each purpose. The amounts shown for county state aids and municipal state aids are pass-through funds distributed by MnDOT on a formula basis to the state's 87 counties and cities with a population over 5,000 for expenditure on the local road systems.
|DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Biennial Appropriations by Purpose
|Purpose||1997-99||% of Total|
|Greater MN Transit||29,585,000||1.1%|
|Railroads & Waterways||3,936,000||0.2%|
|Motor Carrier Regulation||4,924,000||0.2%|
|State Road Construction||891,660,000||33.9%|
|Highway Debt Service||28,700,000||1.1%|
|Research & Investment Mgmt.||23,397,000||0.9%|
|Eng. Serv. & Design Eng.||254,301,000||9.6%|
|State Road Operations||407,934,000||15.5%|
|MnDOT Subtotal||$ 1,789,974,000||68.1%|
|County State Aids||645,801,000||24.5%|
|Municipal State Aids||195,844,000||7.4%|
MnDOT's major areas of expenditure are for state road construction, which accounts for approximately one-half of MnDOT's total expenditures; state road operations (maintenance), which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total expenditures; and central engineering services and design and construction engineering, which account for about one-seventh of MnDOT's total expenditures. The state road construction appropriation of $892 million for the biennium includes an increase of $65 million over the 1995-97 biennium, approximately an 8 percent increase.
Included in the first-year appropriation for aeronautics is a $400,000 General Fund appropriation for MnDOT to refurbish a federal surplus jet aircraft for state ownership and use. The Greater Minnesota transit appropriation includes a first-year appropriation of $925,000 for MnDOT to use as grants to counties to implement transit services that facilitate the transition between public assistance and employment.
The Legislature also directed MnDOT to implement a study of commuter rail service. The study is to look at the potential of utilizing existing freight rail corridors within the metropolitan area for commuter (passenger) rail service. MnDOT is directed to complete the study in cooperation with the Metropolitan Council and metropolitan regional rail authorities. The rail and waterway appropriation includes $1 million in the first year to fund this study.
The Legislature appropriated $100.7 million from the General Fund to the Metropolitan Council for transit planning and operations in the metropolitan area. This is an increase of $12 million (13.5%) over the previous biennium. This appropriation is to be used by the Council to fund metropolitan transit planning, regular route operations, Metro Mobility operations, and grants to community-based transit systems. The legislation prohibited the Council from spending more than $34.6 million for Metro Mobility and from raising fares for regular route transit during the biennium.
The Council was required to spend $2 million of the appropriation as grants to counties in the metropolitan area to implement transit services that facilitate the transition between public assistance and employment. Counties receiving grants must use the funding to transport economically disadvantaged persons to jobs and employment-related activities, including child care facilities.
The legislation also directed the Council and the school boards of Minneapolis and St. Paul to develop a school transportation plan, the goal of which is to make available school transportation through the Metropolitan Council's public transit system. The plan must include transportation for at least 75 percent of the students in grades 9 through 12 in the two districts during the 1998-99 school year, at no cost to the students. The Council and school boards are required to convene an advisory board with representation from students and parents, school administrators, and others to assist in the development of the plan. The plan must be presented to the Legislature before January 30, 1998.
The Transportation Omnibus Bill (Chapter 159) contains a number of appropriations to the Department of Public Safety for transportation-related activities. The appropriations by fund and percentage of funding are shown in the table below. The largest source of funding for Public Safety's transportation activities is the trunk highway fund.
Biennial Transportation-Related Appropriations by Fund
|Fund||1997-99||% of Total
The largest areas of spending for transportation-related activities within the Department of Public Safety are for the state patrol and driver and vehicle services. The table below provides a list of appropriations and percentage of total appropriations for each transportation-related activity.
|DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Biennial Transportation-Related Appropriations by Purpose
|Purpose||1997-99||% of Total|
|Administration and Related Services||$ 22,599,000||11.4%|
|Driver & Vehicle Services||69,851,000||35.3%|
The appropriation for administration and related services includes approximately $2.3 million to enhance the department's criminal justice computer systems. The appropriation for the state patrol includes $600,000 the first year and $1.2 million the second year to implement wage increases for state patrol troopers.
Other Agency Appropriations
The Transportation Omnibus Bill appropriated $25,000 from the highway user tax distribution fund to the Department of Administration to conduct a study to determine the appropriate percentage of gasoline used in the state by snowmobiles. The bill also appropriated $134,000 to the Minnesota Safety Council to conduct transportation safety activities and $1.2 million to the Department of Finance for tort claims.
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