Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday left open the possibility that he would sign a transportation funding plan that does not include a 10-cent increase to the gas tax — a signature component of his transportation proposal.
“I’m not going to veto a transportation bill that’s satisfactory in other respects because it doesn’t have a gas tax,” said the DFL governor, who criticized the hard-line position of Republican legislative leaders who have stridently opposed raising the gas tax.
Dayton’s remarks came as the Transportation Finance Commerce Committee met Thursday in an effort to reconcile differences between the House and Senate transportation budget bills.
“I’m very hopeful that we’ll come up with a bill,” said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, following a wide-ranging two-hour committee hearing.
But it appears as if long-standing differences over funding for metro-area mass transit could still prevent a deal by the end of this legislative session — the same juggernaut that stalled lawmakers last year.