18 December 2007

Lets build some bridges

Federal budget includes $195 million for 35W bridge

Minnesota would receive $195 million to help replace the fallen I-35W bridge, as well as $50 million in security money for next year's Republican National Convention, under a year-end budget bill passed by the House of Representatives late Monday.

About friggin time. I mean, the bridge fell over four months ago. I know that infrastructure isn't exciting, but thirteen people died. But I suppose I shouldn't be moaning too much. Look at New Orleans. The whole place flooded, the levies broke and the place is still under martial law.

But there are more bridges that need work around here. A one time shot of money from the Feds can't help with all of them; the Lafayette bridge takes Highway 52 over the Mississippi near downtown St. Paul, the I-35 E bridge over Cuyahoga Street in St. Paul, the Highway 61 bridge over the Mississippi at Hastings. Infrastructure is not an exciting topic, but it is a necessary one. And not just on a state level.

There are probably thousands of bridges around the country that are in similar condition. There were a lot of bridges built after WWII that are getting older. I'm willing to bet that many of them have the same feature of the 35W bridge where one part fails and the whole thing goes, no redundancy in the structure. While many bridges don't get the same heat-cold-road-salt assault that those here in Minnesota do, they probably have their own problems. Still, not a riveting discussion, despite all of the discussion of rivets.

But war! thats exciting and usually unnecessary. Maybe the deficiencies of one can compensate for the other.

On Monday, Bush said he was hopeful he could sign the bill, but only after Democrats agree to accept funding for U.S. troops in Iraq.

Great. Bush is tying up the money we need to pay for the bridge (and security for the RNC) with the funding for his god damned war.

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