Sen. Hoffman has been a leader in funding smart, cost-effective transportation projects. Among his many achievements as a state senator has been to secure funding for the expansion of Hwy. 610. In 2013, our region received an incredible $80 million from the newly formed Corridors of Commerce program to begin extensive road construction on Highway 610. These investments are vitally important to our corner of the metro, making us more attractive to new businesses which bring good paying jobs and add to our tax base. The new highway corridor will support continued economic growth and job creation in the northwest Twin Cities suburbs. The 2.5-mile extension will open to traffic in late 2016.
Sen. Hoffman’s steadfast support for the expansion of Hwy. 610 has also paved the way for local business growth:
Transportation Funding Votes
Sen. Hoffman voted against H.F. 1444 (p. 3570) in 2013, third reading, The Omnibus Transportation and Public Safety bill, which contained numerous tax increases. These tax increases include a 5 cent gas tax increase which was projected to raise millions in new revenue, increasing the motor vehicle sales tax, adding ¾ cent to the five county transit sales tax, and allowing all counties to implement a wheelage tax.
He also voted against a similar bill, H.F. 4 (p. 2912) in 2015. This bill also included the gross receipts tax (about a 16 cent a gallon increase at $2.50/gallon), a ¾ cent increase in the seven county metro transit sales tax, increases in tab fees and vehicle registration taxes, and this bill included the “Driver’s License For All” provision mentioned above.
2014 Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Bill
This was the omnibus supplemental bill in 2014, H.F. 3172 (p. 10395). There was a $13 million target agreed upon. The transportation article included $6.5 million for Greater Minnesota Transit, increased rail inspectors, rail grade crossing safety improvement funds, increases in MnDOT efficiencies, oil and hazardous materials safety improvements, and others.
Sen. Hoffman voted for both REAL ID bills in the session. The first bill, S.F. 1646 (p. 5330) allowed the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to report back to the legislature about what needed to be done to implement the federal driver’s license and ID requirements. The second bill, S.F. 3589 (p.7011), would have allowed DPS to begin to implement REAL ID standards. However, this bill failed in conference committee as the House and Senate could not agree on bill language. The bill negotiations stalled on a single provision. The House GOP was worried the second tier, Minnesota driving-only license, would allow DPS to use its rulemaking authority to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. However, DPS currently has this authority and undocumented immigrants do not have driver’s licenses.
The next deadline for REAL ID is not until 2018. So, Minnesotans still have time to come into compliance.