Transportation Sales Tax
On February 15, the County Board conducted a Public Hearing at 10:00 a.m. to receive public comment on the extension of a Transportation Sales Tax; and consider adopting a 2023-2032 transportation tax program of projects and authorizing continuation of a transportation sales tax in Scott County.
In May of 2015, the County Board adopted the Transportation Sales Tax with a sunset date of December 31, 2022 by Resolution 2015-067. In order to extend the Transportation Tax without incurring additional costs to the County or to its businesses for administration of the tax, the County must provide notice to the Minnesota Department of Revenue at least 6 months prior to its sunset date. Currently, the sales tax generates an average $10-11 million of revenue annually. Since its enactment in 2015, the revenue has been used to complete major regional projects. The Transportation Sales Tax has leveraged over $100 million in state and federal highway investment in Scott County during the last 7 years. This level of investment was driven by Transportation Sales Tax Funds being available to match state and federal grants. It has helped the County to advance important projects that the State would not otherwise have done in the County.
State Law Requirements
Per the requirements of Minn. Stat. §297A.993, Subd. 1, the County Board may, by resolution following a public hearing, impose a transportation sales tax at a rate of up to one-half of one percent on retail sales and a $20 Excise Tax on Vehicle Purchases in Scott County if using the proceeds for transportation projects. The statute states that all proceeds of the taxes must be dedicated exclusively to: (1) payment of the capital cost of a specific transportation project or improvement; and (2) payment of the costs, which may include both capital and operating costs of a specific transit project or improvement;. The transportation or transit project or improvement must be designated by the board of the county. Except for taxes for operating costs of a transit project or improvement, or for transit operations, the taxes must terminate when revenues raised are sufficient to finance the program of projects.
As proposed, the extension of the transportation sales tax would be focused on finishing the work identified in the early 2000’s, through SCALE efforts and corridor studies on the principal arterial corridors in the County (TH 169, TH 13, CH 17 & CH 8). There are 12 projects remaining from these corridor studies that clearly promote regional mobility, safety, and economic development throughout the County. These regional projects are more likely to leverage regional, state and federal funding. Having the transportation sales tax enables Scott County to be able to compete for those funds without risking needed investments in the County highway system.
The sales tax has allowed the Scott County State Aid and Levy funds in the Road and Bridge Fund, programmed annually through the Transportation Improvement Program, to remain focused on keeping the County highway infrastructure in good repair countywide. The Road and Bridge Levy has not had to increase to meet these regional project matches. Overall, with the sales tax covering the larger regional projects, the County can be more responsive with its regular highway investment program and fund smaller intersection safety improvements, turn lanes, and trail gap projects that cities and townships periodically request to meet local community development needs. Because of the Sales Tax, the county has not had to increase the Property Tax levy going to transportation. Today its is less than what went to transportation in 2000.
The County has received resolutions from all 8 cities in the County supporting the program of projects and the extension of the Transportation Sales Tax until 2032. Additionally, the County has had discussions with the Scott County Association of Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE) and held three separate board workshops to discuss the continuation of the Transportation Sales Tax for the purpose of completing these important regional safety and mobility projects on key corridors in the County: Trunk Highway (TH) 169, TH 13, County Highway (CH) 17 and CH 8. The proposed list of eligible projects are shown on the attached map and are listed below:
1. TH 13 & Dakota Interchange
2. TH 169 & Bluff Drive Overpass
3. TH 13 Local Supporting Roads
4. TH 169 & CH 59 Interchange
5. Jordan Ave Extension to 173rd Ave
6. TH 169 & TH 282 Interchange
7. CH 17 Expansion (CH 42 to CH 82)
8. TH 13 & Quentin & Lynn Interchanges
9. I-35 and CH 2 Interchange
10. TH 13 & Chowen Interchange
11. CH 17 Expansion (south of CH 82 to TH 282)
12. CH 8 Gap Connection
13. Bloomington Ferry Bridge Expansion
SmartLink and Mobility Management Services - expanded evening and weekend services
Park and Ride Maintenance