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Ellison Fights For Bridge Repair Dollars

Federal program could get cut.

Last week, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) stood in front of a decaying bridge in St. Louis Park and called on his colleagues in Congress not to slash federal funding for transportation projects in the name of deficit reduction.

If House Speaker John Boehner gets his way, Minnesota could lose $315 million under the proposed 2012 federal transportation bill, much of which would go to repairing bridges like the bridge that carries Highway 7 over Highway 100.

"It kind of makes me a little nervous, if the experts say this bridge is structurally deficient, to let me and my family drive over it every day," Ellison said.

According to Fox 9, "structurally deficient" simply means the bridge is not up to current standards, and does not connote an imminent threat of collapse, However, there over 1,000 bridges in Minnesota that meet that definition. With funding shortages, the time until a bridge gets brought up to standard would likely increase dramatically.

Anti-Gang Program Could Lose Funding

Ellison made a stop at the North 4 Project last week, an anti-gang program he help set up two years ago by securing a $238,000 grant for the group. Aiming to stop young men from the city's toughest neighborhoods from continuing lives of crime and violence, the group set up its 31 participants with a mix of job training, part-time employment, group activities, and attention from mentors. So far, the North 4 Project has not lost a participant to gang violence, but this year its initial grant will run out. 

According to Minnesota Public Radio, Ellison was reluctant to speak with reporters during his visit, but his stop helped highlight the group's efforts. 

Mike McLean February 28, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Maybe, just maybe if the government would stop spending so much of our gas tax money on bike paths, walking trails and trains, we might have more money left to repair our bridges. I remember Jim Oberstar standing on the fallen 35W bridge talking about our crumbling bridges. Since then the Democrats have had complete control of the US Congress for 4 years and had a Democrat President for 2 of those 4 years. Why didn't you guys get all of this done when you had complete control???
Dennis Gillespie February 28, 2012 at 03:17 PM
You have got that right Mike, not to say anything about all the money that has gone into the Rat Whole of Rail Transportation. If you go back and listen to the speeches Obama made about the stimulus being used for infrastructure and only about 3% went into road projected and then when he was trying to sell his jobs bill he is still trying to rebuild the infrastructure. A Right wing talk show which is poisoning our minds took Obama speeches from the selling of the stimulus and one trying to sell his Jobs package. You were supposed to guess which program each speech was trying to sell. It was only a guess which was which. Rather than taking money away from Social Security for a tax cut, I suggest they take the I think it is $.23 cents per gallon Federal Gas Tax off. The roads are the States responsibility in the first place.
Karen Boblett February 28, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I agree with Dennis' comment as Americans aren't going to give up their cars unless gasoline becomes very expensive as they pay in Europe. If the Dems and Republicans in Congress hadn't spent so much money the last 8 years and thinking it was their own personal piggy bank maybe there would be money to fix bridges although I also believe it is the States' responsibility to keep its bridges repaired. States have gotten too dependent on money from the Feds and the Congress is too FREE in giving it away. Now, the country is in trouble and Ellison is out there trying to get more. Why did he keep voting for more spending, spending, spending?????? I think we need a change in attitude Congressman Ellison before we go the way of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

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