S.F. No. 3298 – Transportation Supplemental Appropriations

Senator Janet B. Johnson

April 2, 1998

Article 1

Section 1 is a summary of the total supplemental appropriations for transportation purposes.

Section 2 contains the supplemental appropriations for the Department of Public Safety as follows:

(a) State patrol appropriations for fiscal year 1999, including $294,000 from the general fund for additional capitol security staff, $694,000 from the trunk highway fund for communications equipment, $2.697 million from the trunk highway fund for 29 additional state troopers and related support staff, $200,000 from the trunk highway fund for fiscal year 1998 for additional state patrol flight time, and $50,000 from the highway user tax distribution fund for the vehicle registration and insurance study in section 6.

(b) Driver and vehicle services appropriations, including $200,000 in fiscal year 1998 and $235,000 in fiscal year 1999 for increased costs of driver license and identification card production.

Section 3 contains the supplemental appropriations for the Department of Transportation as follows:

(a) $40 million in fiscal year 1999 from the trunk highway fund for state road construction. The commissioner is directed to consider utilizing fibrous matting material manufactured in this state when these products are similar in price and quality to products manufactured outside of the state.

(b) $6.8 million in fiscal year 1999 from the trunk highway fund for design and construction engineering.

(c) $50,000 from the general fund and $11,000 from the trunk highway fund in fiscal year 1999 for transfer to the state airports fund to reimburse the fund for air transportation services.

Section 4 directs the commissioner of public safety to study the feasibility and desirability of allowing emergency vehicles to display blue lights to the front and rear, and to make recommendations concerning the types of vehicles that should be allowed to display or prohibited from displaying blue lights. The results of the study must be reported by January 15, 1999.

Section 5, subdivision 1, establishes a dealer licensing and motor vehicle registration enforcement task force within the department of public safety. The commissioner must designate four members of the state patrol to carry out the investigatory responsibilities of the task force and provide the necessary staff and equipment support.

Section 5, subdivision 2, requires the task force to investigate illegal activity by persons engaged in the sale and registration of motor vehicles in violation of the following statutes:

a) 168.27, motor vehicle dealer qualifications and restrictions;

b) 168A.30, false information on application for certificate of title;

c) 297B.035, subdivision 3, sales in violation of licensing requirements; and

d) 325F.664 to 325F.6643, new motor vehicle damage disclosures and title branding.

Section 5, subdivision 3, sunsets the task force on July 1, 2000.

Section 6, subdivision 1, requires the commissioner, with the task force created in section 5, and representatives of the insurance industry, to study the incidence of vehicle registration violations by owners of vehicles domiciled in Minnesota but registered in other states and the number of uninsured motorists in Minnesota.

Section 5, subdivision 2, requires the study to evaluate cost-effectiveness and feasibility of exchanging tax, vehicle registration, and driver license information with other states; utilizing a private vendor’s computer database for insurance and registration enforcement; and ensuring that vehicles domiciled in Minnesota are registered in this state.

Section 6, subdivision 3, requires a report of study results to the governor and legislature by February 15, 1999.

Section 7 adds truck-tractor combinations to the list of vehicles that must provide wheel flaps above and behind the rearmost wheels of the vehicle.

Section 8 allows an exterior axle that is a variable load axle and is not carrying its intended weight, to be disregarded when calculating whether the gross weight on a group of axles exceeds the permitted weight.

Section 9 provides that costs of air transportation that MnDOT’s office of aeronautics charges to other state agencies would no longer include pilot salary and aircraft acquisition costs.

Section 10 exempts aircraft licensed to provide air ambulance service and exclusively providing that service from registration and tax.

Section 11 adds language to the 1997 law containing the 1998 and 1999 appropriation for airport development and assistance allowing expenditure of the appropriation in either year.

Section 12 gives effect to Section 11 and all appropriations for fiscal year 1998 the day after final enactment.

Article 2

Section 1 apportions five percent of the net highway user tax distribution fund, which cannot be changed sooner than six years after the most recent change. (The most recent change was enacted in 1989.) The current distribution is 28 percent to the trunk highway fund, 64 percent to the county turnback account (with suballocations of 25 percent to town bridge account, 47.5 percent to town road account, and 27.5 percent to county turnback account), and 8 percent to the municipal turnback account. This section apportions the entire amount to the county state-aid highway fund, and distributes that amount 30.5 percent to the town road account (same as existing percentage), 16 percent to the town bridge account (same as existing percentage), and 53.5 percent to the new flexible highway account.

Section 2 creates the flexible highway account for trunk highways or for restoration of former trunk highways that have been turned back to cities or counties. The commissioner must meet with county commissioners and municipal officials and include in the biennial budget presentation to the Legislature the amount of the flexible account to be used for county turnbacks, for municipal turnbacks, and for trunk highway projects. Money for restoration of trunk highways turned back to cities or counties must be deposited in the municipal or county turnback account, which are created in the state treasury. Money apportioned from the flexible highway account to the trunk highway fund must be used for state road construction and engineering.

Section 3 adds a cross-reference to section 2.

Section 4 requires money in the town bridge account to be expended on town road bridges and town road culverts. The section deletes the limitation that, when expenditures on bridges and culverts are matched, no more than 90 percent can come from the county turnback account. Under this section, 100 percent of the amount of bridge replacement expenses may be paid from the county turnback account. New language provides that the town bridge account may be used to abandon a deficient bridge that will not be replaced or to construct a road to facilitate bridge abandonment.

Section 5 creates the town road account in the county state-aid highway fund.

Section 6 includes all miles of county highways turned back to a city on or after May 11, 1994, in the definition of “total miles of city streets and county roads” for purposes of calculating the extent of that city’s municipal state-aid street system.

Section 7 establishes the Midtown Planning and Coordination Board to plan for the Lake Street corridor area. The section specifies board membership, officers, terms, and compensation. The board does not automatically sunset.

Section 8 grants necessary powers to the Midtown Planning and Coordination Board, including power to employ people and power to accept and use money and property.

Section 9 gives effect to Article 2, sections 1 to 5, relating to redistribution of the 5% of the highway user tax distribution fund, on July 1, 1999. Section 6, relating to the change in calculating the extent of the municipal state-aid street system, is effective August 1, 1998, for aid apportionments in 1999 and after. Sections 7 and 8, relating to the midtown planning board, are effective July 1, 1998.