Chart of the Day – System Ownership

Today’s Chart of the Day looks at system ownership of the state’s road network by miles of road and miles of travel.

Ownership by share of centerline miles and by share of vehicle-miles traveled.

Ownership by share of centerline miles and by share of vehicle-miles traveled.



Source: MnDOT  Annual Transportation Performance Report 2012 is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.

10 Responses to Chart of the Day – System Ownership

  1. Matt Steele
    Matt Steele April 9, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Another point to support Chuck Marohn’s assertation that counties are going to be the giant loser in the new economy of transportation finance. They are disproportionately building rural paved roads and very expensive suburban stroads more for speculative land development than for actual mobility. Townships in the chart will clearly be in the same boat unless their 41% share is mostly comprised of gravel or other low-maintenance roadways.

    • Brian U April 9, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      The counties know this, which is why they lobbied the state legislature to revise the tax laws regarding transportation funding. Prior to last year, any smaller jurisdiction (city, county, etc) could only impose a local option sales tax if it was voted on by it’s constituents and the money was used to fund a particular project (like a stadium or convention center).

      Now, at the county level, all that is required is for the county commissioner or county board to approve the tax, as long as the funding is used for transportation purposes. This made it 1,000 times easier to increase the sales tax rate in your county and collect revenue for your roads. Thus far, 5 counties have jumped on, with one more going live on July 1, and dozens of others in the hopper. It’s estimated that nobody in the state of MN will be paying the 6.875% state rate in about 2 years.

      To editorialize a bit: I am not a fan of this strategy of revenue generation for road maintenance.

      • Matt Steele
        Matt Steele April 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

        Indeed, it is a regression away from the pay-what-you-use model we should be moving towards. This is the wheelage tax, right?

        • Brian U April 9, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

          Nope, this is separate from the Wheelage Tax. Its a general sales tax add on. You go anywhere in Olmsted, Rice, Beltrami, Wadena, Becker, etc etc County and buy something…an additional .25 to 1% tax will be tacked on to fund the county’s roads.

    • Froggie April 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      It is. Of the close-to-57K centerline miles of township road in the state, only about 1900 of it is paved.

      County mileage could go either way, depending on whether it’s state aid or not. Of the CSAH mileage, 5 out of every 6 miles is paved. For the non-CSAH county mileage, it’s just under 1 in 4 miles that’s paved.

      One could argue (rightfully so IMO) that the rural paved roads are needed for agriculture. But the system that enables that (which is in part why the CSAH system was created) is the same system that the developing and suburban counties took advantage of to build what Chuck calls “stroads”.

      • Nathanael April 9, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

        With low usage, even paved roads can last quite a long time. Those township roads are, as we see, low usage.

  2. Janne April 9, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    Can we get one of these charts with public transit ownership? Or genre? How many entities are there? What portion of transit dollars does each use up? What share of riders does dial-a-ride carry vs. metrotransit vs. others? Etc.

  3. Monte April 11, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    If you combine the original trunk highway system and the interstates / metro freeways, leaving out most of the ’30s and 40’s additions to the trunk highway system you’d get an even more impressive ratio. There were a number of pork barrel routes that the state legislature forced the Dept of Highway to take over, including spur routes from the trunk highway system to such thriving communities of Ponsford (unincorporated), and Urbank (54). Mn/DOT is trying to turn these back to local agencies and has a special fund to entice local agencies to take them, but only 1 or 2 a year tend to change hands.

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