Funding comes from money collected for taxes for fuel, license fees and more

Contributed photo
The Otter Tail County Highway Department and various vounty entites will receive nearly $18 million in funding collected from taxes and user fees.

To support the state’s system of streets, roads and bridges, four types of taxes are collected by the State of Minnesota. The taxes paid for fuel, license fees, motor vehicle sales and auto parts sales are collected in the Minnesota Highway Users Tax Distribution Fund (HUTDF) to be dispersed to counties, townships, and cities. 

Based on this distribution, the Otter Tail County Highway Department will receive over $15 million from the State for maintenance and construction work on the County State Aid Highway (CSAH) system. In other words, a portion of the taxes you pay come back to pay for the roads you drive on in Otter Tail County.

Over $2.6 billion was collected state-wide in the HUTDF for 2021. In 2022, Otter Tail County will receive $15,728,928 and townships in the County will receive $2,302,555 to be distributed among the townships. The City of Fergus Falls, the only city in Otter Tail County that receives money from the HUTDF, will also receive funding.

County Engineer Charles Grotte shared the importance of the funding. 

“The HUTDF is a very important funding source for the County to keep our highways in an overall good condition. Without these dollars coming in we would not be able to do nearly as many highway improvement projects or even the day-to-day highway maintenance,” he said. 

Otter Tail County is predominantly rural and has a population of over 58,000 people. The Otter Tail County Highway Department is responsible for maintaining over 2,100 lane miles of both rural and urban roadway.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) State Aid for Local Transportation division works closely with Otter Tail County to ensure Minnesota maintains a safe, and effective highway system. According to MnDOT, funding from the Minnesota HUTDF is used to support more than 101,000 miles of trunk highways, county state aid highways, municipal state aid streets and township roads. 

For fiscal year 2022, MnDOT distributed over $1 billion to local governments from the HUTDF.