Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
- Member for
- 5 years 2 months
ST. PAUL - Two Minnesota state agencies buy a quarter of all their vehicle fuel at E-85 pumps, and the state fleet as a whole is on track to double its E-85 use this year. The Administration Department reports that state vehicles burned 167,000 gallons of the corn-based fuel in the first half of 2007, about the same as used in all of 2006. Twenty-five percent of Agriculture Department and Pollution Control Agency cars use E-85, the best use in the state. E-85 accounts for 6.3 percent of state fuel use. E-85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's pioneering 32-year-old anti-smoking law gets a facelift Oct. 1. That is when the Freedom to Breathe Act takes effect, banning smoking from almost all indoor areas other than homes and private vehicles.
ST. PAUL - Those who support a gasoline tax increase say a State Fair survey shows Minnesotans as a whole do, too. "The poll demonstrates again that Minnesotans understand that when it comes to important issues like transportation, you get what you pay for," Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, said. "Because the gas tax is constitutionally dedicated to pay for roads and bridges, people know that money is going to be used to build better and safer roads and bridges." A House survey showed 58 percent of those polled would back a dime-a-gallon gas tax increase.
Minnesota's two U.S. senators and one from South Dakota are among those who want to borrow $50 billion to improve the country's transportation infrastructure. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Norm Coleman, R-Minn; and John Thune, R-S.D., say their "Build America Bonds" plan is a one-time federal borrowing program that could create 2.5 million construction jobs and save lives. "The Build America Bonds Act is about generating economic growth, improving transportation infrastructure and, ultimately, saving lives through enhanced transportation safety without a tax increase," Thune said.
Five energy and environmental groups say building a coal-fired South Dakota power plant - and constructing new power lines in Minnesota - will cost more after a new Minnesota law took effect. A legal document filed by the groups opposing the Big Stone II plant said the new plant would impede Minnesota's mandate to reduce global warming emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.
ST.PAUL - Minnesota's Democratic legislative leaders Tuesday dropped most of their wish list for a special session, and pleaded with Gov. Tim Pawlenty to call lawmakers back to St. Paul to only work on issues related to a Minneapolis bridge collapse and southeast Minnesota flooding. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, both Minneapolis Democrats, sent Pawlenty a letter asking that the session convene next Tuesday and go no more than two days.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.
ST. PAUL - The Interstate 35W bridge collapse may have shattered a logjam that long has prevented increased transportation funding. But those logs remain floating and still could sink what on the surface appears to be clear sailing for a transportation funding infusion. Questions about how to raise transportation money and how much to raise remain unanswered, and in a large part undiscussed since the Aug.
ST. PAUL - Rep. Paul Marquart and Sen.