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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kalin and Transportation: Part 1

Rep. Jeremy Kalin (D-17B) issued this news release on February 22, 2008

In it he declares, "HF2800 [the recently passed transportation bill] will allow MnDOT to repair or replace all of the 13 bridges in worse structural condition than the I35W Bridge."


So for Kalin, the I-35W bridge becomes the new standard and all 13 bridges in worse structural condition will be fixed. Where does Kalin get his information? Why not give us links to this public information? Is that too much to ask? Why do we have to depend on his word? Is what he wrote even true?

This Mn/DOT document gives bridge ratings as of March 3, 2007. In that document, do a search for bridge #9340 which is the now collapsed bridge. It had a rating of 50 and far more than 13 are rated in poorer condition. The Stillwater lift bridge is rated at 2.8 and is still used. I doubt that is included in Kalin’s "all of the 13." Many others are rated just above the St. Anthony bridge score. Why aren’t they included in the list scheduled for repair? If they have a rating of 52, aren’t they just as much in danger of collapsing as #9340, rated at 50?

And are any of his 13 actually scheduled for rework and funded? Here is the Governor’s and Commissioner’s statement.


Statement from Lt. Gov./Commissioner Molnau
on the Legislature’s override of Gov. Pawlenty’s veto of the Transportation Funding Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Legislature has expressed its will on transportation funding. Mn/DOT and its professional staff will work hard to implement the Legislature’s investment directives and to invest wisely to improve Minnesota’s transportation system.

Mn/DOT cannot immediately identify the specific road and bridge projects that will be funded and advanced under the new transportation bill (emphasis added). In building an investment plan, Mn/DOT will:

1. accommodate the investment directives contained in the bill, primarily for investment in bridges;

2. consider the recent findings of the Office of Legislative Auditor on the need to invest more resources in maintenance and preservation of the highway system; and

3. consider input on priorities from Mn/DOT district offices, Area Transportation Partnership committees, and other citizens from around the state.


So how does Kalin’s pronouncement square with the Governor’s? Kalin has some ’splainin’ to do. It’s time for Kalin to quit writing in generalities and spell out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth for his constituents.

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