Search User Login Menu

News Minnesota

Lake Superior News Minnesota Region. Duluth, Cook County, Grand Marais, Lake County, St. Louis County, Carlton County, Itasca County, Koochiching County, Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota.

Latest News Minnesota

How much of your gas tax comes back to Cook County?

How much of your gas tax comes back to Cook County?

County Connections :Highway Engineer

COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA January 24, 2020  (LSN) During the first quarter of each year, Cook County and local townships receive news of their annual state-aid funding apportionments. Each year the State of Minnesota calculates revenues from the prior year’s motor fuel taxes, motor vehicle sales taxes, registration fees and other relevant sources, and the state distributes these funds amongst public road authorities in February. These revenue sources are collectively known as highway users income

In 2018, highway users income totaled $2.3 billion, with 40 percent of this amount generated from Minnesota’s current state tax of 28.5 cents per gallon (or 20.25 cents per gallon for E-85 users and less for jet fuel and aviation gasoline). From this amount, the Department of Public Safety, Department of Revenue and Minnesota Management & Budget receive some funds to support program administration costs, and the Department of Natural Resources receives a share of these funds to support programs for off-road users, including boats, snowmobiles, ATVs and off-road motorcycles.

Road work on South Shore Drive Cook County

After these off-the-top appropriations, five percent of the remaining amount is distributed for town road and town bridge purposes and the repair of trunk highways that are turned back to the jurisdiction of local agencies. Ninety-five percent, or $2.1 billion in 2019, is distributed in accordance with Article 14 of Minnesota’s Constitution, which provides 62 percent to the state’s trunk highway fund; 29 percent to the county state-aid highway fund; and nine percent to designated state-aid cities. (Interest on the county state-aid highway fund is also distributed within this fund.)


Of the $637 million available to 87 counties in 2019, Cook County received $3,385,660. Therefore, Cook County receives around 0.15 percent from highway users income sources. In other words, for every 24 gallons of gas you purchased in Minnesota in 2018, you contributed one penny towards the maintenance of, and future construction improvements along, Cook County’s state-aid highways. These figures vary from year to year, and the county will find out within the next few weeks how these numbers look for 2020.

County state-aid highway monies are distributed according to a formula that accounts for the number of motor vehicles registered in each county and other factors that are based on each county’s unique network of roads and bridges. Counties with four-lane highways, more miles of roads, more bridges, more stoplights or higher traffic counts than Cook County generally receive a greater share of this distribution. In fact, Cook County was one of seven counties that received what was considered the minimum distribution of $3.38 million last year.

Before these funds arrive in the Auditor’s Office, this distribution is further split between maintenance and construction services. In 2019, then, Cook County received $215,734 towards future construction investments on designated state-aid highways (CSAHs) within the city limits of Grand Marais. These include 5th Avenue West and County Road 7. Just over $1.8 million was allocated to construction investments on CSAH (county roads 1 through 23) throughout the county. $1,354,264 of the 2019 allocation supported annual maintenance services on our CSAH routes, helping offset Road & Bridge levy needs, and the townships of Schroeder and Tofte split an allocation of $3,298.

This annual process means a couple of important things for Cook County. When the Highway Department prepares the budget in July and the county board considers a preliminary levy in September, state transportation revenues must be estimated because state-aid maintenance support is not yet known. The good news is that we can typically rely on trends to predict this line item. Additionally, the state provides an estimate for each county in October (before final levies are set). Due to recent legislation regarding the distribution of sales taxes on auto parts, Cook County expects to receive a $3.5 million distribution in 2020.

What does this level of funding mean for the future of Cook County’s transportation system? A three-mile project with a scope similar to the ongoing South Shore Drive improvements costs $2.7 million, or one and a half times our annual state-aid construction allotment.

Further, according to the results of last summer’s Transportation Plan survey, 75 percent of respondents do not support increasing local property taxes for the purpose of delivering additional road construction projects. With a $1.8 to $1.9 million annual budget for CSAH construction improvements (in addition to a periodic municipal CSAH project or federal project), road projects such as that on South Shore Drive can only happen every other season. Consequently, unless state transportation funding increases, Cook County should prepare for a decline in the number of local road construction projects.

Additional information regarding Highway Department activities is available on the county’s website,

Note:  Although we have federal Highway Trust Fund revenues to thank for the upcoming Gunflint Trail improvements between Trout Lake Rd. and Pine Mt. Rd., the federal fuel tax is omitted from this article because a strong majority of federal highway user fees support state-maintained highways. Cook County’s next federally-supported transportation project is forecasted for the summer of 2024.

By: Cook County Highway Engineer Krysten Foster

County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service.


About Cook County Minnesota

Cook Country Minnesota   Lake Superior News

Cook County is at the tip of Minnesota's Arrowhead region in the remote northeastern part of the state, stretching from the shores of Lake Superior to the US-Canada border. By land it borders Ontario, Canada to the north, and Lake County, MN to the west.  The highest point in Minnesota, Eagle Mountain is 2,301 feet and the highest lake,  Total Area equals 3,339.72 sq miles

Cook County is home to three national protected areas:
Grand Portage National Monument
Superior National Forest
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Cook County include:
 Grand Marais     Lutsen Mountains
 Gunflint Trail      Superior Hiking Trail
 Grand Portage 

Snow Levels Minnesota
Snow Depth  Minnesota   Lake Superior News


Minnesota Events Calendar

«May 2022»
  • New Single Access Point for Aging Resources in Cook County
    New Single Access Point for Aging Resources in Cook County

    New Single Access Point for Aging Resources in Cook County

    COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA  ~~~~~~   May 10, 2022  (LSNews)    The Cook County Aging Coalition is pleased to introduce Aging Well Resources Cook County, a new “one-stop” guide to local programs, events, and support. Aging Well Resources includes a comprehensive easy-to-use website designed for residents of Cook County, as well as a Care Navigator for phone assistance. It’s never been easier for Cook County seniors to find the information they need! For those who would rather speak directly to someone or who need help understanding support options, Care Navigator Christie John offers friendly assistance by phone by calling (218) 231-8903 or toll-free (855) 444-3910.

    #LSN- HEALTH  #LSN_CookCounty  #LSN_MNNews 

    Read more
  • May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
    May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

    May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

    COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA   May 10, 2022  (LSNews) Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks, also known as deer ticks or blacklegged ticks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 476,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year.

    #LSN_Health #LSN_CookCounty  #LSN_MNNews

    Read more



Follow LSN on Twitter

Latest News

Latest News

Previous Next


Back To Top