11/23/2008

Jumping the gun on why the 35W bridge collapsed

The Star Tribune has this:

It's official. The Interstate 35W bridge fell -- not because of what Tim Pawlenty or Carol Molnau did or didn't do -- but because engineers failed to calculate correctly the thickness of gusset plates more than 40 years ago.

The National Transportation Safety Board's findings, released on Nov. 14, must feel like some vindication to Pawlenty, Molnau and MnDOT's bridge inspection and maintenance team.

After the collapse, Pawlenty counseled patience. He urged Minnesotans to wait for a thorough investigation before leaping to conclusions about why the bridge fell.

Instead, critics launched a relentless -- if often subtly expressed -- search for villains to blame for what we now know was a tragic accident.

Sometimes bluntly, sometimes not, critics suggested that Pawlenty's skinflint tax policies and budgets had set the stage for the I-35W bridge tragedy. The governor's opponents maintained that he had sacrificed bridge maintenance and safety -- and thus the well-being of Minnesotans -- in an attempt to adhere to his no new taxes pledge.

Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, put it this way after the NTSB issued its report. While Pawlenty "didn't cause [the bridge] to go down," he said, the evidence shows that "very few did something to keep it up." The governor, Carlson added, "really ought to be lowering his head and saying, 'I'm sorry.'"

Molnau was the target of particularly vicious condemnation. Critics painted her as an incompetent clown who blithely superintended a bridge inspection and maintenance program that was shoddy, irresponsible and done on the cheap. . . .


My son Maxim and I had a piece last year on this issue here.

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1 Comments:

Blogger 1 said...

"because engineers failed to calculate correctly the thickness of gusset plates more than 40 years ago"...

So it wasn't global warming, eh?

George W didn't facilitate the dropping of the bridge because Minnesota was a blue state, right?

Actually the real problem is the social engineering mindset that afflicts liberals everywhere and there is a particularly virulent strain of this in Minnesota...

Minnesota had $700 million to waste on light rail which carries only a fraction of what I-35 carries...

Still this light rail boondoggle is a lesson that HASN'T been learned though...

The “Train to Nowhere” is a proposal to run a passenger train along a 150 mile route from Minneapolis to Duluth at a construction cost of $400 million

Highlights of the 2006 edition of the Minnesota Piglet Book shows tax dollars being wasted on:
* The state bailout of the Minneapolis Teacher’s Retirement Fund, which puts state taxpayers on
the hook for $972 million in unfunded liabilities;
* A new $776 million Twins Stadium to be paid for with a Hennepin County sales tax increase
(approved by state legislators with no voter referendum)
* $97.5 million for the Northstar Commuter Rail line;
* $34 million in subsidies to ethanol producers that have seen a 300 percent increase in profits in
the last year;
* $30 million for bear exhibits at the Minnesota and Como Zoos;
* $12 million to renovate the Shubert Theater in downtown Minneapolis;
* $1 million for a replica Vikings ship in Moorhead;
* $500,000 for a skating rink in Roseville;
* $310,000 for a Shakespeare festival in Winona; and
* $129,000 for state art grants for North Dakota museums and theaters.

Gee! I wonder how many bridges and how many miles of Minnesota could that amount of money handled?

11/23/2008 2:40 AM  

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