Minnesota is one of the states that make up the United States of America. It is ranked at number 12 in terms of large size and became part of the United States back in 1858. Every state or country always put a lot of investment in various sectors to ensure growth of their economy. Among the sectors of concentration include transport, commerce and industries, health, education and finance. One of the sectors that the government in Minnesota has given much concentration is the transport sector.
This paper takes a look at some of the things that the government in Minnesota has done and is still dong to enhance transportation and growth of the transport sector. Some of the key issues to be discussed to include light rail, road plowing, road upkeep and maintenance by the government, among other issues. Just like in many other countries, one of the major problems facing the transport sector of Minnesota is the problem of traffic congestion on the roads.
This is indisputably one of the major problems that needs lasting solution because it has been argues that this congestion on the roads lead to loss of money leading to deterioration in the growth of the economy. It has been observed over the years that millions of road contractors are always on the look out for projects by the government. Usually, funding of road projects is guaranteed considering that there is a provision in the constitution which requires that all highway projects be funded from the taxes paid to the government.
The problem of congestion on the roads was discussed by the legislators in Minnesota leading to the introduction and consequent passing of the Transportation Funding Bill of 2008. Some of the provision included in this Bill included the increasing of the gas tax from which the money for funding highway projects was to be drawn. The Bill was not only to address the issue of congestion on the roads but also the lack of funds to maintain the roads and keep them in good conditions (National Research Council. 1999). .
Therefore two major problems facing the transport sector of Minnesota is congestion on roads and lack of funds to maintain the roads. Having identified two major problems we now embark on looking at possible solutions that are actually workable in the state of Minnesota to ensure that a lasting solution is provided to these problems. Our discussion begins at looking at the reason why Minnesota is facing the problems that it is facing. According to a research carried out it was said that as far as the transport sector is concerned the country was lagging 20 years behind.
And these were the reasons that the researchers gave for the current state of the transport sector in Minnesota. To begin with researchers pointed out that the country was not giving enough in terms of funding the transport sector (Public Private Ownership. 1984). It is after this report that was released that the Transportation Funding Bill of 2008 was passed which provided that the money allocated to the transport sector is increased. Another issue that was pointed out by the report was the issue of roads being not only narrow but also few.
The report pointed out that one way of reducing that was to increase the number of lanes in every highway. The main message that the report was passing to Minnesota was that they had put a lot more in terms of financing and funding if they wanted to solve the current problems mentioned above. Having identified the problems affecting the transport industry and their causes let’s now shift our focus to some of the possible solutions to these problems.
Looking at the congestion on the roads of Minnesota perhaps one of the solutions would be having additional light rail systems or bus systems. Looking at the Transportation Bill of 2008 most of the answers and solution lie therein. To begin with the gasoline tax ought to be increased. This will mean that there will be more money going to the highway funding projects since it is the money that from the gasoline taxes that goes to finding the highway projects. This will have two positive impacts on reducing the problem of congestion.
First as mentioned more money will be generated form the gas taxes and thus threw ill be more money that can be used to construct new lanes hence reduction of congestion on the roads. On the other hand when the gas taxes are increased it may be a pinch to motorist who may feel that they can no longer afford the prices of tax due to the increased taxes. This will therefore force them to abandon their personal vehicles and use public means which will prove to be cheaper thus reducing congestion on the roads.
Yet another solution would be to increase the tax on all sales as provided by the Transport Bill. This is all in a bid to increase the amount of funds available which will be then directed to financing the highway projects. Research conducted indicates that it is only a small percentage of the money spent improvement of the transport sector in Minnesota that comes from the general fund. Much of the find comes from the Trunk Highway Fund. Federal funds are also a source of revenue for the maintenance of the transport sector in Minnesota (Minnesota Department of Transport.
1981). Although the transport sector in Minnesota is marred by many a problems more could be done if the allocation in terms to this particular industry is increased. Looking at the budgetary allocation of the 2008/2009 the transport sector got only 260 million dollars for the year. This can barely meet half the transport needs in Minnesota including maintenance of the existing roads and construction of new ones. Thus it is possible for the state of transport in Minnesota to be improved.
And from the discussion above it seems that the main problem is lack of funding. If only more in terms of funds was directed to the transport sector then there would be much more to show in this industry and the current problems would cease.
Reference: National Research Council. (1999). Transport Research Record, University of Michigan, Michigan Minnesota Department of Transport. (1981). Report for Legislature Funding: London: Routledge. Public Private Ownership. (1984). Minnesota Department of Transport. London: Routledge.