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.