Posted at 8:18 AM on February 19, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Transportation will lead the headlines again today. That's because the Legislative Auditor releases a report this morning on the condition of the state's roads and bridges.
The transportation bill is moving through committees in the House and Senate. They took the provision out that linked future gas tax increases to the rate of inflation. The Pi Press, the Star Tribune, Forum Communications and AP have stories.
Forum Communications has a breakdown of the gas tax here.
Senate Tax Chair Tom Bakk tells Bemidji that bonding for their events center depends on the transportation bill.
Some are worried about rural air service in the state.
GOP Sen. Joe Gimse is named an assistant minority leader in the Senate GOP Caucus.
Minnesota Lawyer writes about an attempt by three staffers in the Attorney General's office who want to form a union.
The Star Tribune says charter schools are using loopholes to bypass dollars.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar talks digital TV conversion this morning.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz supports the Lewis and Clark Regional Water Project.
Walz also writes an op-ed on the economy.
Politico has a story on tele-town halls. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison attends funeral services for a four year old who was beaten to death earlier this month.
Extra money for North Dakota crops could come out of the Farm Bill. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is mentioned.
Others write that the Farm Bill may have a retro look.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned in this story on transportation infrastructure in Connecticut.
Oberstar is also mentioned in this story on the NWA merger.
2008 Race for President
The Wisconsin Primary is today. Some of the voters shared their thoughts with MPR.
A poll by Rasmussen says Obama would defeat McCain in Minnesota but McCain would defeat Clinton.
AP has a list of Superdelegates.
Pawlenty for VP Watch
The conservative Human Events writes about Pawlenty's chances.
So does the Worthington Daily Globe.
2008 U.S. Senate race
GOP Sen. Norm Coleman tells Politico that he will benefit with McCain on the GOP ticket.
Coleman is also holding a fundraiser for his PAC next week.
Three DFL campaigns stump in Beltrami County.
Posted at 11:21 AM on February 19, 2008
by Tom Scheck
A report by the Legislative Auditor says MnDOT needs more money to meet basic needs. The report says the structural conditions of the state's bridges has gotten better since 2002 but highway pavement has deteriorated over the same period. The report also found that half of the funding for highway construction has been directed to new highway and bridge construction even though the department claims to have a preservation first policy. The report says MnDOT will need to direct virtually all of the trunk highway fund to preservation rather than new construction starting in 2012.
The audit says 55% of the state's bridges are in good condition compared with 51% in 2002. The audit also notes that fewer crews are doing routine maintenance due to budget restrictions and MnDOT doesn't adequately follow up on inspectors' recommendations for upkeep. Read the full report here.