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Republican John McCain blames deadly Minnesota bridge collapse on pork-barrel spending.

... McCain, while campaigning in Pennsylvania, told reporters: "The bridge in Minneapolis didn't collapse because there wasn't enough money. The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects."
(StarTribune)

And here is the pork, from McCain's potential Vice Presidential Candidate, it is Republican Minnesota Governor Pawlenty Pork: The New Minnesota Twins Stadium

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The New Minnesota Twins Stadium

Cost: $544.4 million (including site acquisition and infrastructure)
Public financing: $392 million from a 0.15 percent sales tax in Hennepin County
Private financing: $152.4 million from the Twins
Lease: 30 years
(Ballparks)  

Cost of the New 35W bridge:$234 million

Governor Pawlenty would have had to propose and provide some financial support for the"structurally deficient" 35W bridge replacement before the federal government could act!

And the Republican Governor Pawlenty knew or should have known from the "structurally deficient" rating reports coming out his Minnesota Department of Transportation:Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Highlight pink lines were added by me to this ABC photo to show the bending of the gusset plate before the 35W bridge fell.

Old photos of the Interstate 35W bridge show two steel connecting plates were visibly bent as early as 2003 — four years before the span collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people.

Minnesota Department of Transportation officials declined to say when the state first knew about the bending in the pieces of steel, called gusset plates.

Two photos, part of a report issued earlier this month by the National Transportation Safety Board, reveal slight bends in gusset plates that hold beams together at two separate connecting points. The plates are in areas believed to be among the first points of failure when the span collapsed.

The NTSB's Office of Highway Safety confirmed that the bowing is part of the investigation into why the bridge collapsed Aug. 1, the Star Tribune newspaper reported Sunday. (ABC News)

Add to a buckling bridge, a Republican administration mismanaged project:

But earlier this week, the board said the bridge was stressed after workers had put 99 tons of sand on the roadway directly over two of the bridge’s weakest points. Stress at one of the two weakest points was 83 percent more than the bridge could have handled, according to an interim report released earlier by the Federal Highway Administration.(New York Times)

There are so many bad bridges in Minnesota, that actually the Hastings bridge was expected to fall first

In May 2006, two MnDOT inspectors completed their annual review of the steel-beamed Hastings Bridge that crosses the Mississippi River between Dakota and Washington counties. It was a crucial task.

The bridge, the busiest two-lane span in Minnesota, is covered with corrosion and cracks. And it's a fracture-critical structure: If one load-carrying part fails, the entire bridge will plummet into the river.

Back in the office, the inspectors filed their report. They flagged numerous structural problems on the 57-year-old bridge: thinning steel, corroding beams, frozen bearings, damaged girders. Many of the deficiencies had been reported a decade or more ago....

Repairs to the state's worst bridges and roads are being put off year after year, sometimes for more than a decade, as the transportation agency contends with massive budget shortfalls and aging infrastructure...(Star Tribune)

While Republican Governor Pawlenty was willing to push through the new Twins stadium without even the traditional referendum, the Republican Governor Pawlenty also vetoed efforts to improve transportation both before and after this tragedy. The Democratic Minnesota congress removed Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau from her post as transportation commissioner last month after years of concern about the department’s performance. The Minnesota people approved an amendment to the state constitution that locks the state government into spending more money on roads and public transit by restoring all money collected from the sales tax on motor vehicles to transportation. The Minnesota house and senate with great courage and great leadership by the Democrats and the support a few brave responsible Republican legislators passed a significant transportation bill. Those few brave responsible Republican legislators were chastised by the Republican party.

Accountability! We the people of Minnesota have the right to demand accountability of our state government and we will! Republican Presidential McCain has the pork part of this problem exactly right, exactly right from his potential Vice Presidential Candidate Pawlenty.

Originally posted to MN Progressive Project on Thu May 01, 2008 at 01:45 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  People need to be screaming this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, rivamer, Osaka

    all the time, so the Repugs get a real warm greeting at the convention..And people have to be reminded again and again why Pawlenty is so bad...

    Hillary è un boccone amaro da mandar giù (Hillary is a bitter pill to swallow)

    by gladkov on Thu May 01, 2008 at 01:51:05 AM PDT

  •  Everybody's wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    That bridge collapsed because those gussets were 1/3 the thickness that they were supposed to be.  But I expect all politician to demogogue when people die because of s stupid, stupid error.

    •  Nonsense bugscuffle (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman, rockhound, kfred

      Timmy Pawlenty has been govetrnor since 2002 and his Dept of Transportation had inspected the bridge numerous times and found deficiencies. Regardless of the original specs, this could have been and should have been corrected. That's why we have inspections. To find problems and correct them before people die. He nixed a recommendation to put reinforcements on the gussets because it would have meant he might have had to spend some money. Timmy refused to do that because he is a pandering, no taxes for rich folks republican who is beholden to Club for Growth and Grover Norquist and not to the people he was elected to serve. He said no, no, no. Then, scores of innocent people going about their business were killed or injured.

      In spite of all this, and the fact that this was a sacred responsibility to all who expected to make it to the other side of the bridge, he has been rewarded with a favorable approval rating on how he has handled the bridge collapse! A majority of MNs unfortuantely are taken in by Timmy being such a nice, Christian boy. He is a terrible governor! You don't get more self-serving than our little Timmy. I think the main reason the average Minnesotan thinks he is a good governor is because our last one was such a ridiculous buffoon. At least Timmy doesn't embarass us on Larry King, right? Who cares if a few people perish? He has not been held accountable by the media and has even managed, sucessfully for the most part, to allow the blame to fall on Carol Molnau, who was just doing his bidding and following his no spending pledge. What a nice guy huh? But excuse my demagoguing.

      Lies are the new truth.

      by rivamer on Thu May 01, 2008 at 04:42:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pshaw (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    We need a gas tax holiday, not to spend more money on bridges and roads.

    WARNING: There is a high probability that the preceding comment is snark. Use your best judgment (hopefully better than Sen. Clinton's or Sen. McCain's).

    by Anarchofascist on Thu May 01, 2008 at 02:12:16 AM PDT

  •  How to react? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, murrayewv, NonnyO, rivamer

    As a member of this reality-based community,  I feel that this story and the many more like it should be shouted from the rooftops.  But I assume the vicious idiots in the unreality-based community don't consider this to be a story at all.  Obfuscation, misdirection, lies, and arrogance beyond belief are their stock in trade.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Thu May 01, 2008 at 02:21:48 AM PDT

    •  I'll help push it (0+ / 0-)

      There are lots of Minnesota blogs.

      You can also write a short letter to the Strib or PiPress along these lines:  

      "Smilin' Tim Pawlenty pushed through the $544 million Twins stadium free-money giveaway to Carl Pohlad, the richest man in baseball, without so much as a referendum.  But he didn't lift a finger to replace the 35W bridge before it collapsed, even though that would have, at $234 million, cost less than half the price of Pohlad's taxpayer-financed playground.

      Who's the real porker here, John McCain?"

  •  I'm glad someone besides me... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, rivamer

    ... noticed that we don't need to fund those useless stadiums for overgrown boys to play in (many of those boys make the top of the local news hour for committing crimes).

    I'm just glad I don't live in one of the counties that was taxed to fund the stadium already being built - taxed without having any vote on it, no less.  I was offended on behalf of the residents of those counties.

    I remember when the bridge fell a stadium meeting between the team owners and state government officials had to be put off.  It would have been totally tasteless and tacky to talk about funding another stadium at that critical time.  But now they're going back to discussing those useless stadiums.

    Total waste of taxpayer money.

    (¯`*._(¯`*._(-IMPEACH-)_.*´¯)_.*´¯)

    by NonnyO on Thu May 01, 2008 at 03:19:20 AM PDT

  •  While I agree that the public should not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    be financing stadia, this is really apples and oranges.  McCain was speaking of Federal pork.  Federal funds are used to finance repairs on bridges on Interstates (the funding from the Highway Trust Fund is 90-10 Federal-State), while the State budget was used to fund the stadium.  It confuses the issue, since Federal monies cannot be used for a stadium.

    Should the state under Pawlenty have spent the money on bridges, rather than a new stadium?  Of course. And, if McCain chooses him as his running mate, he should be excoriated for poor choices.  

    Diplomacy, n. The patriotic act of lying for one's country -- Ambrose Bierce - So how come the Bushies are so bad at diplomacy?

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu May 01, 2008 at 04:46:08 AM PDT

  •  Foul! (0+ / 0-)

    You can hammer Pawlenty on many things.  Start with his gross neglect of public education and finish with the many other issues listed above.  But his involvement in the stadium deal was little more than signing a bill passed by the Minnesota House and Senate, with a fairly large contingent working the background including Mr. Opat from Hennepin County.

    I completely fail to see how this is a Pawlenty pork project and I think you probably know that it is not.

    The 35W bridge collapse was a tragedy that need not have happened... and there is plenty of blame to go around.  But to tie it to a Twins stadium is really very misleading.

    •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

      Pawlenty was very much behind the push behind this and  there was transportation in the original bill, that Pawlenty took out. I was really involved following it. The Pawlenty who wields a veto pen easily, is very very responsible!

      •  Then we agree to disagree... (0+ / 0-)

        Many, many people have been involved in the push for the Twins stadium.  I'm not sure how you would consider a bill, for which the main focus was the stadium, as pork.  The stadium was a very high profile issue separate from transportation... regardless of the fact that they tried to tie a myriad of things to the bill.

        But... we most certainly agree on our disdain for the Gov. and his policies.  So I'm happy to leave it at that.  My personal belief is that if he were added to the McCain ticket it would virtually guarantee a Democrat victory in MN.

  •  Stadium was against Republican Party policy even (0+ / 0-)

    Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat:" The purpose of a stadium is to generate revenues so the team can compete." Is this the purpose of our tax dollars? Government should not be funding private businesses. This version of corporate welfare diverts resources from important priorities government should be funding like public safety, roads and infrastructure and education.

    Since the late 1990's the Twins havespent $15 million to change the public perception of a new stadium and $360,000 in campaign donations to assorted politicians. As reported in the Pioneer Press in May, 2006, the Twins had decided in Dec. of 2005 not to pursue a stadium deal in the 06 legislative session. Governor Tim Pawlenty had other ideas. In January, well before the start of the 2006 session our governor invited the Twins to meet to talk about a stadium deal.

    Republican Party of MN clearly states in their party platform: We support maintaining the principle that sports, entertainment, and the arts should be funded by users and voluntary donors, not by tax dollars. Please note: Minnesota has a Republican Governor and a Republican House, with a evenly divided Senate.

    For years Governor Pawlenty opposed any stadium bill, until it mattered most. Our governor should have been the final line of defense to protect the taxpayer yet on the big screen we all saw Governor Pawlenty, in his Twins jersey, signing the new Twins bill into law. Minnesota needs a leader who is committed to protecting the taxpayers
    (Sue Jeffers for governor)

    So actually this stadium was perceived to even be against Republican policy.

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