The Humphrey School of Public affairs at The University of Minnesota recently completed a report for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) on contributions to State and regional transportation facilities in Minnesota. The report sought to analyze how changing amounts of federal and state funding towards maintaining highways affect the amount of local spending. In some cases, federal and state governments may have difficulty maintaining sufficient funding to meet transportation needs, though there is not much research on the ultimate impact on the share of local government spending. In order to perform the analysis, the researchers examined trends in transportation funding in Minnesota, comparing the impacts on different strata of counties. They also developed and administered a survey to city and county engineers, receiving a responses from a total of 37 counties and 41 cities.
The report found that local government contributions for the Minnesota roadway system have increased in recent years, including spending on trunk highways through cooperative agreements between MnDOT and local governments. These agreements, while often beneficial, may create the risk of unexpected cost increases for local governments, particularly in cases where state funding totals are capped and local governments must cover any overruns.
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