Mayor Rybak Urges More Transportation Funding
Says I-35W Bridge Shows "We pay now or we pay more later" for Transportation
Oct. 10, 2007 (MINNEAPOLIS) In a speech at the University of Minnesota last night, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak called on Congress and the State to get serious about fixing roads, bridges and transit with much needed increases in state and federal investments in transportation.
"After the I-35W Bridge collapsed, we heard from state and federal leaders many promises of support and commitments to make sure disasters like this would never happen again," Mayor Rybak said. "Now that the news cameras are gone and the limelight has faded, efforts to fix the growing problems of our transportation system are fading as well. We should be outraged."
Mayor Rybak’s speech was part of a series of public forums about the I-35W Bridge collapse hosted by the University of Minnesota in association with a semester-long course called "Telling River Stories" taught by Professor Pat Nunnally.
More Funding, More Leadership for Transportation Needed
During his speech, Mayor Rybak renewed his call for increases in state and federal gas taxes to fund needed transportation projects, including bridge repair, highway expansion and transit improvement. He also called on Governor Pawlenty to stop vetoing needed transportation bills.
"Our city, our state and our nation have not invested as we must in roads, bridges and transit – and our lack of investment has serious consequences," Rybak added. "I say this as the Mayor of a city recovering from a tragedy that was not an act of God, but a failure of Man."
"Immediately after the I-35W Bridge collapse, Governor Pawlenty seemed to finally understand the need for more transportation funding," Rybak reported. "But by the time he actually called a special session, all conversation and any action on the Bridge and our ailing transportation system was gone. While states around the country like Missouri and Kentucky called special legislative sessions to better fund their transportation systems in the wake of our bridge collapse, this state did not. This is a lost opportunity and a great disappointment."
"It isn’t always popular to ask everyone to pay a little more at the pump, but we either pay now or we pay later," Rybak said. "We pay now to fix our ailing transportation infrastructure or pay dramatically more as our roads and bridges deteriorate further. We know from this tragedy that ‘paying later’ with transportation infrastructure can mean more than just money."
To view this news release and Mayor Rybaks speech online, visit www.MayorRybak.us.
Published Oct. 10, 2007