Monday, October 8, 2007

Minnesota turned down bridge repair money

We reported this summer that Minnesota had one of the lowest fuel tax rates in the country -- a not-so-insignificant fact given the I-35W bridge collapse -- but now there's a new Minnesota transportation scandal brewing.

Government records show that Minnesota transportation officials have passed up more than $60 million in federal aid for substandard bridges since 2003, choosing instead to take federal dollars that could be spent on the state's road and bridge priorities.

This comes on top of $41 million that state officials transferred out of the federal bridge fund over the past five years.

Those funds could have been used to fix (but not replace) the endangered I-35W bridge.

The politicians in St. Paul will certainly find numerous ways to spin this around but there are at least 13 families who lost loved ones who probably won't buy it. And neither should the rest of Minnesota's voters.

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