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How the Bridge will be Funded

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Gas Tax 


Gas tax revenues are collected by states and used for construction and transit projects (Crawley and Gralla, 2008).


U.S. gasoline taxes should be raised at least 25 cents over five years to pay for upgrades to highways, bridges and other transportation networks, a congressionally appointed panel recommended (Crawley and Gralla, 2008). 


Gov. Pawlenty has vetoed two gas tax increases over the past three years. In the wake of the bridge collapse he indicated support for a gas tax increase, but negotiations with DFL legislative leaders failed to produce an agreement on an overall package (Scheck, 2007).


The Minnesota Legislature voted to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of a $6.6 billion bill, paving the way for higher gas taxes and other fees to bring in more money for roads, bridges and transit (WCCO, 2008).


Transportation Bill


The Minnesota Legislature voted Monday to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of a $6.6 billion bill, paving the way for higher gas taxes and other fees to bring in more money for roads, bridges and transit. The state's first gas tax hike since 1988 hits on April 1, and by fall it will have climbed slightly more than a nickel overall to 25.5 cents per gallon. It will rise in stages another 3 cents by 2012 to pay off road bonds. (WCCO, 2008). 


Borrowing Bill 


Minnesota senators hastily passed a nearly $1 billion borrowing plan Tuesday focused on construction at colleges, prisons, flood zones and other public property (WCCO, 2008).


A mixture of building repairs and new construction on college campuses accounts for more than one-third of the total cost. The bill also provides money for civic center renovations, hiking trail upgrades, transit line expansions, landfill remediation, historic site preservation and a planned state Capitol restoration (WCCO, 2008).


The bill would permit the sale of $965 million in general obligation bonds. But it clears the way for even more construction than that because some projects require local or federal matching money (WCCO, 2008).





Private and public money


Emergency Funding


Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman tonight secured Senate passage of emergency assistance in the wake of Wednesday’s Interstate 35W bridge tragedy.  The bill authorizes $250 million for repair and rebuilding of the bridge.  In addition to authorizing the reconstruction of this critical transportation route, the measure also takes the important step of authorizing the project for emergency funding and waives the current cap on emergency funding dollars. This will allow the State of Minnesota to proceed with reconstruction efforts with the promise of federal reimbursement. And perhaps most importantly, the bill will provide $5 million in funds from the Federal Transit Administration to maximize public transportation services while rebuilding takes place ( Raabe, Diana, 2007).


Federal funding


President Bush and Congress have promised to pick up the costs of the reconstruction of the bridge, but that money is being held up in federal budget negotiations (Scheck, 2007).


Minnesota would receive $195 million to help replace the fallen I-35W bridge, as well as $50 million in security money for next year's Republican National Convention, under a year-end budget bill passed by the House of Representatives late Monday. The money for the bridge would come on top of the $178.5 million the federal government has already given Minnesota for the project. (Frommer, Fred, Dec, 2007).


Money for both projects has been kicking around Capitol Hill for months, but the $500 billion-plus catchall spending bill might represent its best chance for getting through Congress and approved by President Bush (Frommer, Fred, Dec. 2007).


On Monday December, 17, 2007, Bush said he was hopeful he could sign the bill, but only after Democrats agree to accept funding for U.S. troops in Iraq (Frommer, Fred, Dec. 2007).


Public Funding 


A speed-up in infrastructure spending will depend on funding plans, such as programs tapping both private and public money, which could take time to put together. The U.S. is moving toward higher public-private partnerships to build toll roads and other public assets (Anderson, Leonard, Aug, 2007).


Possible Use of lottery proceeds



According to the 2007 Annual Report (Hinton, September, 2007), the State of Minnesota raised more than $112 million in fiscal year 2007 in lottery proceeds. The money was spent in the following ways:

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (including the Game and Fish Fund and The Natural Resources Fund):
 $49.5 million each.


Part of these Lottery proceeds may also be used to help pay for a new state park on Lake Vermilion, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources proposed Tuesday.The complex proposal would dedicate $6 million a year from the state's Environmental Trust Fund. That money comes from lottery sales, and it would be used to cover the debt payments on more than $97 million in state bonds. DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten said about $48 million of the borrowed money could be used to buy and develop the 2,500 acres of potential park land from U.S. Steel. The DNR won't know the exact price of the land until January, he said. The other half of the borrowed funds would be used to acquire other lands across the state for use as wildlife management areas, state forests, parks and for other recreational purposes (WCCO.com, Sept. 2007). 


Programs to help people fight gambling addiction:

$1.9 million.

State General Fund:


$60 million.



Since its inception in 1990, the State General Fund has accumulated more than $930 million. This fund supports state services that include public education, local government assistance, public safety and environmental protection.



Monies for Victims


Minnesota Helps - Bridge Disaster Fund™ 


Immediately after the I-35 bridge disaster, the public responded with generous offers of support. In response, the Minnesota Helps - Bridge Disaster Fund™ was formed  by local foundations such as The Minneapolis Foundation, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Minnesota Community Foundation, and the St. Paul Foundation to collect contributions and distribute them effectively to help the victims, survivors, rescuers, and families affected by the bridge collapse.

Initiated with seed funding from local foundations, the Minnesota Helps -- Bridge Disaster Fundhas received more than $1.2 million, thanks to the generosity of more than 1,500 individuals, families, businesses, congregations, community groups, and others in Minnesota and across the country (Minnesota Helps-Bridge Disaster Fund, Aug, 2007).

Minnesota Helps quickly paid $216,000 to several non-profit agencies, such as Family and Children Services, after the incident. The grants paid for everything from counseling to funeral services. So far, though, only 21 survivors have received aid, according to the Minneapolis Foundation, which administers the money. People eligible to apply for the money complain that intrusive financial questions, onerous bookkeeping that requires applicants to keep track of all expenses and other red tape have created barriers to relief. The assistance form from the Minnesota Helps — Bridge Disaster Fund requires applicants to provide details of their monthly income and expenses, including rent or mortgage and debt payments.


Rich Cowles, executive director of the state's Charities Review Council, says the documentation requirements were put in place because of lessons learned from the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of those disasters, thousands of people were helped, but headlines were made "when donations went to scams, or when people who were extremely wealthy got contributions," Cowles says. The fund's two-page application form says relief is available only to immediate relatives of people who died and to people hurt in the disaster who "can no longer afford basic necessities" as a result. It asks for invoices, receipts and proof that expenses are not covered by insurance. Aid for most survivors is capped at $10,000. The fund does not pay victims directly but disburses money to organizations that provide services or pay their bills (Dorell, December, 2007).


Minnesota Victims Compensation Fund 


House-Senate negotiators met Wednesday, March 26 to start sorting out their differences over how to compensate victims of the Minneapolis freeway bridge collapse.This is how it sits:


Minnesota House Victims Compensation Fund 

A bill that creates a $40 million fund for victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse passed the Minnesota House 120-10 on Thursday. It would give money to the 164 people who survived the collapse and to relatives of the 13 who died in exchange for their promise not to sue the state (O'Connor, February 2008).

Minnesota Senate Victims Compensation Fund 
The full appropriation for the fund would be $25 million with an individual settlement cap of $400,000, compared to the House version which totals $40 million and does not put a limit on the amount of individual awards (Pugmire, March 2008).
The House and Senate bills are separated by about $15 million and a significant philosophical issue -- whether payments to individual victims should be subject to a $400,000 liability limit in Minnesota law. The roughly $40 million House bill has no such cap, while the $25 million Senate version does (WCCO, March 2008).


Deep inside this legislative plan to compensate the victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse is a proposal that would also take care of someone else -- the University of Minnesota, whose researchers authored a 2001 study of fatigue cracking that confidently stated there was no need to replace the bridge.


Though the 2001 study did not focus on the bridge's gusset plates -- a factor that federal investigators are now investigating as a possible cause of the collapse -- it was notable for its straightforwardness in giving the bridge a clean bill of health. The study evaluated metal fatigue on the deck truss and concluded that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) "does not need to prematurely replace this bridge because of fatigue cracking, avoiding the high costs associated with such a large project." (Kaszuba, April 2008). 


Benefits for Victims:


Fine Line Cafe: On August 12, 2008, businesses donated items for a silent auction, including tickets to sporting events, shows, and a Paul McCartney autographed guitar. There were so many items, organizers turned away some. In addition to these items, 12 bands donated their time to help in the fund raising. A total of $17K was raised (Schugel, Aug, 2007).



57 Songs for the I-35W Bridge Disaster Relief Effort: A collection of songs spanning indie rock, modern rock, metal, country, folk, blues, Americana, jazz, funk, hip-hop, R & B, and reggae genres - and many songs that defy classification - from Australia to Germany to NYC, New Orleans, Miami,Nashville, Tucson, L.A., San Francisco, to Portland and many points in between, here are 57 Songs meant to lend spiritual support to those affected by the disaster and help Minnesota remember, reflect, rebuild, and heal (Musicians for Minnesota, 2008).






See Also:




The Price of the Collapse






Crawley, John and Gralla, Joan. (2008, January 15). Panel: hike gas tax for roads and curb privatizing. Reuters. Retrieved March 9, 2008 from



Scheck, Tom. (2007, October 1). Cost of bridge collapse could reach $400 million. Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from 



Minn. Senate Approves $1B Borrowing Plan. (2008, March 4). WCCO. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from



Raabe, Diana. (2007, August 4). How to Pay for Bridge Repair. Gather.com. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977075921.


Frommer, Fred. (2007, December 17). Federal budget includes $195 million for 35W bridge. Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/12/17/budget_bridge/.


Anderson, Leonard. (2007, August 8). US infrastructure rebuilding faces politics, money hurdles. Reuters. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from



Hinton, Marie. (2007, September 25). 2007 Annual Report. Minnesota State Lottery. Retrieved April 10, 2008 from http://www.lottery.state.mn.us/ar07/.


Minnesota Helps-Bridge Disaster Fund (TM). (2007, August 6). Minnesota Helps-Bridge Disaster Fund (TM). Retrieved April 11, 2008 from http://www.minnesotahelps.org/index.htm.


Schugel, James. (August 13, 2007). Fine Line Benefit Raises $17K for Bridge Relief. WCCO. Retrieved April 11, 2008 from http://wcco.com/local/I.35W.bridge.2.369599.html.


Dorell, Oren. (2007, December 30). Some Aid for Minn. Bridge Victims Stalled. USA Today. Retrieved April 11, 2008 from http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-12-30-Bridgefund_N.htm.


O'Connor, Debra. (2008, February 28). House ok bridge victim's fund. watchdog@pionnerpress.com.  Retrieved April 11, 2008 from http://www.twincities.com/ci_8400896?IADID=Search-www.twincities.com-www.twincities.com&nclick_check=1?source=sb-delicious.


Pugmire, Tim. (2008, March 13). Senate Passes Brdge Victims Compensation Fund. Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved April 11, 2008 from http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/03/13/bridgecomp/.


About the Project. (2007). Musicians for Minneapolis: 57 Songs for the I-35W Disaster Relief Effort. Electro-Voice. Retrieved April 11, 2008 from http://www.electrovoice.com/musiciansforminneapolis/.


Talks Begin Over Compensation for Bridge Victims. (2008, March 26). WCCO. Retrieved April 11 from http://wcco.com/bridgecollapse/bridge.victim.compensation.2.685204.html.


Kaszuba, Mike. (2008, April 2). Bill to Compensate Bridge Victims also would Shelter U. Star Tribune. Retrieved April 11, 2008 from http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/17208701.html.







Comments (1)

pierc188@... said

at 6:26 pm on Apr 20, 2008

The edits I made to this page were mainly format changes to give the page a more consistent layout with its self. I also checked and fixed any links that contained inaccurate url's which is a simple mistake to make, this means that links should be double checked when first created because the smallest error in the url makes the link to fail.

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