News & Updates

Failure is Not an Option

by | May 11, 2023 | News

Despite Minnesota having $12.5 billion in one time money and a structural general fund surplus of $6 billion, there is no surplus in transportation funding. This report details decades of declining revenue from dedicated funding sources of transportation infrastructure, describes how that has left our infrastructure in a state of disrepair, and makes the case for a diversified and sustainable transportation funding package.

Declining revenue:

  • Minnesota is facing a $30 billion funding shortfall over the next 20 years just to maintain our current system of state and county highways, city streets, town roads, bridges and transit. 
  • Nearly all funding for Minnesota’s state and county highways and bridges is received from constitutionally dedicated revenue sources, all of which are raising less revenue than forecast.
  • The gas tax and debt surcharge hasn’t been increased since the aftermath of the I-35W bridge collapse, and it hasn’t kept pace with inflation.


Increasing needs:

  • Minnesota has thousands of miles of roads in poor condition, more than 600 structurally deficient bridges, and transit systems across the state in dire fiscal condition. 
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2022 Infrastructure Report Card graded our roads a ‘D+’, bridges a ‘C’ and transit a ‘C-‘.
  • There are 874 bridges in poor condition, 1,400 bridges with reduced or substandard load capacity and over 600 structurally deficient bridges.
  • According to MnDOT’s 2022 Local Bridge Replacement Program Report, we need to be replacing 320 bridges per year and funding only allows the replacement of 100-200 bridges per year.
  • The Metropolitan Council is facing a nearly $300 million fiscal cliff and rural transit agencies face a $167 million funding gap between projected revenues and projected needs.


A diversified and sustainable transportation funding system:

  • We propose new dedicated revenue streams to clear Minnesota’s backlog of transportation projects and keep up with future demands. 
  • A 75 cent fee on retail delivery orders is a new and innovative way to diversify transportation revenue to make up for the increased wear and tear from delivery vehicles.
  • By kicking the can down the road, policy makers have left our infrastructure in a dire state. Now is the time for policy makers to do the responsible thing and pay for our infrastructure needs through user fees like the delivery fee.

Failure is Not an Option

Underfunded Minnesota: Collective Investment for a Brighter Future

The current budget surplus represents an important opportunity to improve the quality and affordability of life for Minnesotans. For decades, wages have largely stagnated, while workers and families have incurred steeply rising costs for major expenses like childcare,...

Losing Ground: State Disinvestment in Students

Our first report, “Losing Ground”, has a simple but stark finding: over the last twenty years, per pupil state aid received by Minnesota school districts declined by 20 percent, after adjusting for inflation. As state aid has fallen off, school districts have asked...

Contact Us

Use this form to get in touch with North Star staff, or send your questions, suggestions, and ideas to