In the wake of Minneapolis’ 35W bridge disaster – which occured two years ago tomorrow – Democrats nationwide use the tragedy as yet another reason to call for more taxes, to pay for more “infrastructure” spending.
Minnesota DFLers used the tragedy as an occasion to pillory Governor Pawlenty – in some particularly ghoulish cases, even before the last girder had fallen into the river – for having vetoed a hike in the state gas tax, and for having taken and held to a “no new taxes” pledge five years earlier, during his nomination process.
In response, many of us asked, hypothetically, “if the DFL had had complete control of the state for the past ten years – if Skip Humphrey had beaten Jesse Ventura and Norm Coleman – do you homestly believe they’d have spent that time and money doing the unglamorous, tedious, exquisitely expensive work of going and inspecting and repairing old infrastructure (or not-so-old infrastructure – the 35W bridge was half the age of the bridges up and downstream from it) rather than more-visible work, like building light rail and more roads?”
We were, of course, absolutely correct:
Tens of thousands of unsafe or decaying bridges carrying 100 million drivers a day must wait for repairs because states are spending stimulus money on spans that are already in good shape or on easier projects like repaving roads, an Associated Press analysis shows.President Barack Obama urged Congress last winter to pass his $787 billion stimulus package so some of the economic recovery money could be used to rebuild what he called America’s “crumbling bridges.” Lawmakers said it was a historic chance to chip away at the $65 billion backlog of deficient structures, often neglected until a catastrophe like the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed two years ago this Saturday.
The lesson? Raising taxes and assuming that Democrats will use the money to pay for maintenance is like giving a teenager a credit card to buy school supplies.