Another Kalin Press Release
Rep. Jeremy Kalin (D-17B) has posted his latest accusatory piece.
LEADERSHIP AND HONESTY ARE SORELY NEEDED
When the 35W bridge collapsed, taking 13 lives with it, Governor Pawlenty sounded like the leader we all wanted him to be. He assured us that he would do what it takes to ensure that all of Minnesota's roads and bridges are safe, even it if meant raising taxes.
When legislators questioned Lt. Gov. Molnau and her staff on August 15 and 22, MnDOT assured us that they would have no cash problems. Other projects would not suffer, the Lt. Gov. reassured us.
Since then, we've learned of excessive bonuses going to the losing bidders of the 35W bridge contract – to the tune of $600,000 total. We've learned that MnDOT's director of Emergency Management, Sonia Morphew Pitt, couldn't be bothered to come home for 10 days after the bridge collapsed, and that up to $26,000 of her taxpayer-paid travel was for personal pleasure. And, we've learned that MnDOT management, when made aware of Ms. Pitt's excesses, failed to alert the Legislative Auditor as required by law.
To top it all off, Lt. Gov. Molnau has since admitted that she didn't tell the legislature the truth. She has asked the legislature to give her an unprecedented cash advance of almost $200 million. If she doesn't get her way, projects in the works will be delayed or halted altogether.
What's the Governor's response to Minnesotans? Don't worry. Be happy.
It's a cute slogan. But it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in MnDOT, or in Minnesota's infrastructure. The Governor and the Lieutenant Governor need to come clean regarding MnDOT's ongoing financial troubles. Only then can the legislature, and every Minnesotan, be confident that increased investment will be responsibly managed by the Pawlenty/Molnau administration. And only then will we be certain that our state is on the responsible path to better roads, safer bridges, and adequate transit options.
It’s all Lt. Governor Molnau’s fault according to Kalin, and Pawlenty’s. He does not acknowledge that the financial crunch Mn/DOT is experiencing is due to a potential veto of the transportation bill by President Bush. The bill provides $195 million to the state for the start of the I-35 bridge. But President Bush has threatened to veto it because of the “irresponsible and excessive level of spending” in it.
Because the $195 million federal money may not arrive in time, Mn/DOT may need to delay some other projects, for example see here and here to free up money for starting the construction of the I-35 bridge.
Mn/DOT has asked the Legislative Advisory Commission (LAC) for the possible approval of $195 million of state money to start the project.
The LAC is reluctant to approve this large sum because the commission deals with smaller figures. And if this would be approved, there are concerns that the federal money may not come through.
This is indeed a problem for state officials, but it would not exist if the federal dollars were there, something Kalin does not acknowledge.
Of course the Dems blame Pawlenty for not allowing transportation funding in the special session. Governor Pawlenty wisely prevented a feeding frenzy by the Dems who saw the bridge tragedy as an opportunity to spend money like drunken sailors.
Ironically, a similar feeding frenzy is occurring at the federal level as Congress (Dems and Republicans) loaded up the transportation bill with excessive pork which the President has threatened to veto.
Kalin wants leadership out of Minnesota Republicans. When will he demand leadership out of his fellow liberals who gorge at the public trough? The porkers get so greedy that they are willing to jeopardize the funding of a collapsed bridge. If the federal transportation bill were fair, Bush would sign it and Minnesota’s bridge funding problem would be solved. But liberals sense they can take advantage of a tragedy and federal funding failure to open the state floodgates for even more funding. The Governor alone holds back that flood. Keep it up Governor. You have our support.
Kalin wants honesty from the Governor. How about a wee bit of honesty from Kalin? Liberal greed at the federal level is creating a funding problem here. We’re sick of the dishonesty of liberal politicians.
It’s time for our local Representative to demonstrate leadership by actually working harmoniously toward a solution together with Republicans. “People before politics” is only a slogan; now let’s see you put it into action.