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Monday, August 06, 2007

The cause of the 35W bridge collapse

Unless you live under a rock, or Amish-style, you heard about the Interstate 35W collapse (video) in Minneapolis, MN last week. I was out of town, so I missed a chance to speculate about causes, mortality, and the fickle nature of politics. Others, however, have covered that ground.

Wonkette has an excellent overview of how we fund transportation in America, and why this kind of bridge collapse shouldn't be entirely unexpected. She also notes that it's silly to blame the current administration in Minnesota - despite its penny pinching - since rebuilding bridges can take over 20 years.

There's also a good op-ed on shortchanging infrastructure investments, a follow-up to a 2005 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers giving the country a "D" on its infrastructure report card.

The state's Republican governor has already expressed a willingness to override his "no new taxes" pledge to support a gas tax to increase road and bridge maintenance funding, and will likely call a special session of the Legislature. Too bad it took a disaster of "historic" proportions (5 dead, but $250 million and 18 months to replace the bridge) to get him to move.

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