Rendering of street in the Rondo neighborhood that has asphalt art, bike lane, bus rapid transit, and a car lane.

Minnesota law requires that the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund be spent on “highway purposes.” The state’s trunk highway system takes various forms, from small-town main streets to large urban freeways, and serves all transportation modes, including people driving, walking, rolling, biking, and using public transit. However, historically, the vague definition of “highway purpose” has been narrowly defined to apply only to infrastructure that serves car and truck traffic, excluding other uses. This has resulted in abundant funding for expensive and environmentally destructive highway expansion projects and a shortage of funding for pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit infrastructure.

Legislators should clarify the definition of highway purpose to include the many ways that Minnesotans use the trunk highway system, including multimodal infrastructure for walking, biking, and public transit. This would be achieved by HF 2807 and SF 2935, which were introduced in 2023. This legal clarification would help advance a transportation system that works for Minnesotans of every race, age, ability, and income.

There is broad public support for such a change. 66% of respondents to a 2022 statewide poll would support a bill to “improve transportation options in Minnesota using funding from the state and federal government, which would otherwise go to highway expansion.”

Ask your legislator to clarify “highway purpose” to include all modes of transportation.

Take action and contact decision-makers.