Debate over earmarks looms in transportation funding fight

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - There's another debate brewing in the fight for road and bridge repair funding: Who should pick which projects get the money?

That responsibility has typically fallen to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. But the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the Republican-controlled Legislature is advancing bills that specifically select some projects.

A department list shows $1 million in so-called earmarks in the House transportation budget. The Senate's funding package has more than $100 million in earmarks.

Republican Sen. Scott Newman says the state has neglected some critical needs in its project selection process like repairs to U.S. Highway 12 in western suburbs, where safety issues have mounted.

But transportation commissioner Charlie Zelle says the Legislature's meddling can cause problems if they pick projects that aren't ready to begin.

© 2017 Associated Press


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