On Tuesday, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners voted to dissolve the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB). They also voted to maintain the current quarter-percent sales tax and $20 excise tax on new vehicle sales at the same rate. These actions will be cost neutral to residents and businesses as the tax will replace the CTIB tax. Maintaining the current quarter-percent sales tax will fund much needed Dakota County transit and transportation projects, while providing a better return on investment for Dakota County taxpayers.
Moving forward, transportation funding collected in Dakota County will be used on high-impact projects to improve safety, congestion, mobility and economic development that are important to the future of transportation in Dakota County. Although CTIB is disbanding, Dakota County remains committed to working with partners in the region on a robust, sustainable, regional transit system.
“This move by the Dakota County Board of Commissioners is focused on looking forward and addressing much-needed transportation needs in Dakota County that will provide greater return on investment to our county’s taxpayers than the regional CTIB approach did,” said Mike Slavik, chair of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners. “Leaving CTIB will help create a long-term, reliable structure to fund Dakota County’s transportation needs.”
Dakota County revenue could be used to fund regional transitway capital and operation costs such as the METRO Orange Line along I-35, METRO Red Line along Cedar Avenue, transit expansion, county and trunk highway projects, and regional trail projects.
Five metro counties — Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka and Washington — established CTIB in 2008 to advance transit projects through the entire metro area. However, Dakota County saw a lack of CTIB investment in Dakota County transportation initiatives. Since 2008, CTIB collected about $947 million in taxes overall with $122 million coming from Dakota County taxes. However, during the same period, Dakota County projects received only $53 million from CTIB. Now, Dakota County will have a more reliable, locally-controlled funding source for transportation and transit. (All of the numbers in this paragraph are as of March 31, 2017).
If all five metro counties who are members of CTIB vote to dissolve and CTIB votes to dissolve on June 21, the CTIB sales tax will end on Sept. 30, 2017. Dakota County’s sales tax will take effect on Oct. 1, 2017 to fund Dakota County transportation and transit initiatives.