Minneapolis Mayor Says Too Little Transportation Spending in America

September 6, 2007

Yesterday before a hearing on Capitol Hill, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback testified that the country hasn’t spent enough on transportation infrastructure. From the Associated Press:

House Democrats feuded with Republicans and the Bush administration Wednesday over raising gasoline taxes to pay for safer bridges.

A month after an interstate bridge collapsed in Minneapolis and killed 13 people, the government is struggling to develop a long-term way to pay for repairs and new construction.

The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee promoted his plan to increase the federal gasoline tax from 18.3 cents a gallon to 23.3 cents a gallon. The additional money raised would go to a bridge trust fund.

Such a step is necessary, said Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., because Congress cannot solve the problem with a “bake sale.”

….

But Minneapolis’ mayor, Democrat R.T. Rybak, told the committee he supported Oberstar’s bill and that the country has not spend enough on roads, bridges or transit systems.

“I say this as the mayor of a city recovering from a tragedy that is not an act of God,” he said. “It was a failure of man.”

Speaking of a failure of man…where was the mayor on the night of the bridge collapse? That’s right…along with Bud Selig, team officials, and other elected officials, he was set to dedicate a new baseball stadium to the Minnesota Twins that was funded with nearly $400 million of taxpayers’ money—all going to a team owned by Carl Pohlad, who was ranked as the 107th richest person in America by Forbes Magazine. For the mayor to come to Capitol Hill to tell Washington to spend more money on roads while his own administration and state have such out-of-whack priorities is laughable.

For more on the fiasco that is Minnesota’s spending priorities, check out a new Tax Foundation commentary here.


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