Wednesday, May 21, 2008

No money for bridges, lots for war

Money woes may have led to the collapse of that bridge in Minnesota last year, the one that killed 13 people, according to a report conducted for the state Legislature by a private law firm.
But the key finding was on the money issue.

"Financial considerations, we believe, did play a part in the decision-making" on bridge maintenance, Robert Stein, one of the attorneys, told lawmakers during a briefing. "Sometimes it's easier just to take the least expensive alternative or just commission another study."

Tom Johnson, another attorney who worked on the report, told legislators the maintenance work wasn't sufficient. The bridge was rated in "serious to poor" condition for 17 consecutive years by the National Bridge Inventory Standards.

"The question for the Legislature is, do you want to have a bridge that remains in a poor condition over 17 years?" Johnson told lawmakers.
There were other issues too, but the lack of money necessary for proper maintenance was the main issue. The question just begs to be asked...

When are we going to start taking care of our needs here at home?

(Cross-posted at BFM.)

2 comments:

Kvatch said...

The question for the Legislature is, do you want to have a bridge that remains in a poor condition over 17 years?" Johnson told lawmakers...

Well, by the time the new eastern span of the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge is complete, it will have been 22 years since the Loma Prieta quake caused the old span to be declared "seismically unsound". In that time, 15 SoCal freeways damaged in the Northridge quake (1992) were replaced/repaired. So it's doable, when you have the balance of a legislature on your side.

Funny thing about Minnesotans, from my years living there, I always found them to be very pragmatic about spending tax dollars. Not so anymore, I guess.

Kathy said...

Kvatch, I think the anti-tax crowd have had a bad effect on pragmatic people. They've focused so much on cutting taxes that people are getting careless about maintenance, which can end up costing more money and even lives in the end.

To use a car as an example, if you change your brakes when the pads start to show signs of wear, the repair won't be too costly. If you wait till the brakes wear through to the rotor (or is it drum!), the repair will be much costlier, especially if you end up in an accident because the brakes didn't work when you needed them.