Members of the Move MN coalition, which number some 130 groups statewide, said they hope to convince lawmakers that the need is dire.
"We have fallen so far behind in our transportation needs, and we need to have funding sources that are sustainable," said Margaret Donahoe, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance. She cited recent studies showing that more than half the state's roads and bridges are in mediocre to poor condition, and that only 10 percent of workers in the Twin Cities have convenient access to transit.
But notably absent from the Move MN coalition is the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which was a prime political force behind the last gas tax increase in 2008, when the Legislature overrode then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of the nickel-a-gallon hike. Bentley Graves, the chamber's transportation policy analyst, said its member businesses aren't ready for another increase.
"A lot of businesses are still grappling with the tax increases they saw last year," Graves said. "What we're looking for is a focus on stretching the dollars currently being invested, and using them as wisely as possible."