Transportation Finance

State and Local Policy Program
Humphrey School of Public Affairs

301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Transportation Finance Database

The Minnesota Transportation Finance (MNTF) Database is a longitudinal and spatially integrated database for Minnesota transportation finance, as part of the multiple-year Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness project funded by the 2013 State Legislature.

The SLPP collaborated with the Humphrey School's Institute for Urban and Regional Infrastructure Finance to compile the database, which includes annual data of transportation funding sources and transportation expenditure allocations in Minnesota beginning in 1980 and to be updated each year.

The database is a solid foundation for understanding transportation finance issues in Minnesota, for easy public access to enhance public engagement and informed decision making, and for facilitating transportation studies in relating transportation investments to other data regarding transportation inputs, outputs, and outcomes.

New Sources of Transportation Revenue

The SLPP has worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for a decade to explore new options for raising revenue to finance the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges. Revenue from the gasoline tax is declining as drivers turn to vehicles that are more energy efficient or run on alternative fuels or electricity.  

MnDOT's Mileage-Based User Fee (MBUF) Policy Task Force identified and evaluated issues related to potential future implementation of an MBUF system in Minnesota. Under such a system, drivers would be charged a fee based on the number of miles they drive, regardless of the type of fuel they used in their vehicle. The Humphrey School prepared the task force's final report in 2011. 

With the growing popularity of car-sharing services and the advent of autonomous vehicles, the landscape of transportation funding is still evolving. The SLPP and MnDOT have begun a new research project looking at distance-based user fees as another potential revenue source.

Multi-Model Transportation Connections

As transportation systems continue to change and rely less on single-occupancy vehicles, large parking ramps and other structures can be repurposed to serve other modes of transportation, including transit, autonomous vehicles, car sharing, ride sharing, and bicycling. SLPP is researching the potential of transforming the ABC parking ramps in downtown Minneapolis to "mobility hubs." 

Congestion Pricing

A major reason for congestion on urban roadways is that they are not priced properly. For years, economists have argued and demonstrated that congestion pricing is the only viable solution to reducing and managing traffic congestion. Since 1994 the State and Local Policy Program has conducted policy research, education, and outreach activities to demonstrate how effective pricing is a critical tool in managing congestion.

SLPP outreach activities have directly contributed to the adoption of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes or MnPASS lanes on I-394, I-35W, and I-35E in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, as well as policies adopted by MnDOT and the Metropolitan Council to incorporate managed lanes with MnPASS lanes in future metro area highway projects.

Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation

The Policy Task Force on Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation (PPPs) was convened by MnDOT in 2011 to identify and examine the potential for expanding the use of PPPs in Minnesota and to recommend strategies for implementation. The PPP Policy Task Force included state legislators; local elected officials; and transportation, business, labor, environmental, and community leaders, who were asked to consider the potential opportunities and challenges related to transportation PPPs in Minnesota.