Up to the minute Amber Alert Information

Friday, September 21, 2007

When does a Liberal Complain
about Spending Money?

Late afternoon on Wednesday, Rep. Jeremy Kalin (D-17B) called WCCO radio (and others) to say the three companies with the losing bids for the I-35 bridge would be receiving $500,000 each instead of the $300,000 stipend he knew would be granted. WDFL Don Shelby eagerly asked pandering Kalin to inform him about his investigation into the matter so that he could report on it.

This article had reported on the $500,000 stipend on September 14 (5 days before bid award), explaining the rationale for offering stipends to the losing bidders.

Mn/DOT did not design the bridge project and put it out for bid. Rather, each bidding company used the design-build method. The stipend covers at least some of the design costs of the bidding company. An article, in which Kalin’s complaint is registered, also explained the rationale of the stipend.

A bid-losing company can choose to turn down the stipend. If it accepts the stipend, the state gets the right to use any ideas submitted in its design and bid. Thus the state may benefit from information that it can use on this or any other project in the future. Of course that benefit is not known in advance.

On September 14, the above article explained the increase from $300k to $500k:

"Department spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said the stipend increase reflects heightened expectations, including a requirement that the bridge be reinforced to accommodate a future light-rail line."
After the bidding companies had already done work on the design-build project, they were asked to modify it to accommodate light-rail. Kalin’s liberal friends pushed hard for light-rail inclusion on the bridge. In a liberal’s mind, such a demand is not the driving force for an increased stipend; a Republican administration that believes in paying for a requested product must be blamed. Kalin doesn’t live in a real world of cost and benefit. Despite his "people before politics" mantra, he lives in the mud-slinging world of jacking himself up by wacking Republicans and pandering for votes.

Kalin balked at the $600,000 extra stipend expense, but said nothing about the $50 million extra cost of the bid accepted by the state which has been protested by two losing bidders. Kalin missed the big money and choked on the small potatoes. That does not bode well for Chisago County taxpayers who will be expected to keep forking out the dough for his projects.


chisagomama said...

You hit the nail on the head. Firms who design and bid would not bid if there was no chance of getting paid for a losing design. Can you blame them? Added design means added cost to the project and added cost to the design. Light rail is the baby of the left. You play, you pay, Jeremy.

chisagomama said...

I need to add something. If Jeremy is a "designer" how come he doesn't unerstand this process? Why does he focus on the cents and not the dollors? Why not ask why the higher bid was accepted? Why not ask why the bid which projects the longest construction time was accepted? We have such a light-weight representing us...not only doesn't he have the answers, He DOESN'T EVEN HAVE THE QUESTIONS!

Teaparty said...

More to chew on:

Kalin is outraged because Mn/DOT's increased stipends may cause another "structurally deficient" bridge to be neglected. (Oberstar is suddenly dragging his feet getting the federal funds here, creating a minor budget crisis at Mn/DOT.)

However, he is not at all concerned that dedicated road and bridge funds are being used to finance stipends and projects directly related to light rail.

For someone who insists that "road and bridge" and "transit" funds are separate and not interchangeable, he has no problem blurring those lines here.

While at the very least $20 million of road and bridge is set to be flushed on transit related costs, he has the audacity to attack Mn/DOT over $600,000 in stipends provided for by state law.

Earlier this week Kalin was quoted playing politics with the bridge disaster, suggesting that Mn/DOT's spending would put another deficient bridge at risk. He could fix that right now by demanding dedicated transit funds be used to finance all transit aspects of the I-35W project, thus freeing up untold millions for road and bridge projects and alleviating this "crisis."

Instead he attacks Mn/DOT because it is convenient politically.

Kalin insists that transit dollars cannot, must not, be reallocated for road and bridge projects. But he has no problem stealing from road and bridge to finance transit, even in a time when Kalin himself will tell you there is no greater priority than road and bridge.

That's a level of hypocrisy difficult to quantify.

chisagomama said...

Good Grief, tparty, why are you up at 2A.M.?

Teaparty said...

2 a.m. is the most inspiring hour.