The I-35W bridge over the Mississippi in Minneapolis collapsed during rush hour on August 1, 2007, plunging dozens of cars and their occupants into the river. The calamity disrupted transportation, aimed a spotlight on public infrastructure, and evoked an outpouring of public response.
State transportation officials are asking a special legislative panel for the authority to spend an additional $195 million. But a key DFL lawmaker accuses the Pawlenty administration of using a backdoor maneuver to avoid a broader debate of transportation funding.
The selection of Flatiron Construction to rebuild the I-35W bridge may seem like a surprise. The company has never built a bridge in Minnesota and its bid was more expensive and requires more time than competing bids. So, why Flatiron?
The official is on leave while the transportation
agency reviews her work schedule and travel. She was attending a Harvard University training for emergency managers when the bridge failed on Aug. 1, and didn't return to Minnesota until Aug. 11.
We get some ideas for funding transportation infrastructure from Robert Poole, engineer and founder of the Reason Foundation. He spoke recently in the Twin Cities, at the Center of the American Experiment.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation will open bids next week for the I-35W bridge reconstruction. MnDOT is ready to pay
$500,000 to each of the unsuccessful bidders, which a spokesman said is the largest stipend the agency has ever offered.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak challenged
the nation to "have the guts to do what we need to" to pay for bridge and infrastructure repairs. He spoke Friday at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The I-35W bridge project is not funded in the package. One option under consideration by Minnesota
lawmakers is to try to add funds to replace the Minneapolis bridge
to an upcoming measure to further fund the war in Iraq.