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Letter: Don't bond for bridges

Rep. Denny McNamara, I have a few questions that you need to answer before the new session starts next month. I do think you are the one to ask, because you always tells us you have, "Talked to the governor or talked to MnDOT" and have all the answers about transportation funding.

First good question is to your friends at MnDOT and the lieutenant governor. She has not told us yet why she stopped the work on "our bridge," the Wakota, a year ago. That is in breach of contract with the builder and will cost the state upwards of $10 million. When are they going to finish this work in progress? We hope BEFORE work on the Hastings Highway 61 Bridge.

In your newsletter of Jan. 20 you state, "I'm not into political rhetoric." I do beg to differ. A few years ago you voted FOR a transportation bill that had no chance of passing. Then last year you voted AGAISNT a transportation bill that had a chance to pass. Both had a gas tax increase. That would be political double-speak. You're guilty.

You also tell us the state constitution does not allow us to use bonds for highways and that you have a bill to change that. Bonds are to be use for building and other construction, NOT HIGHWAYS. The constitution is written to protect us from narrow-minded, short-thinking elected officials. Why do you want to change it? Try a user fee.

Thank God that back in the 1960s, when the 35W Bridge went up, they did not bond for transportation. They thought that we may have our own road problems. Rep. McNamara: the Governor and you think that having my grandchildren fund our roads is the way to go. I do NOT think so. They my have their own transportation problems in 2038, don't you think?

Your newsletter states, "Lawmakers who feel transportation funding is an all or nothing approach are wrong, we need real solutions and compromise..." So far your thinking and approach are not the way to do it. Let us pay for our roads, not on the backs of your children and grandchildren

Finally, you state that you want us to pay for the new Highway 61 bridge with bonding money for 20 years rather than not at all. General obligation bonds are for a 30-year life. It really is unfair to pit building a new (61) bridge and making a bike trail to Red Wing. You need to step back and take a look at the big problem we have in the entire infrastructure throughout the entire state, and come up with a better plan than you and your Republican friends are trying to float.

In the last paragraph in your newsletter, you make reference to a recent report from MnDOT. Is that the audit that discloses $140 million in cost overruns in the last years under Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, the MnDOT Commissioner. Auditor Daniel Kahnke wrote last March in his cover letter, "We believe our concerns are significant, as they also involve complying with requirements, maintaining public trust, and maintaining good public relations." Rep. McNamara, 2008 would be a good year for you to try some of just two out of three of those attributes. I have not seen any in all the years you have been working in St Paul.

Mike Skweres

St. Paul Park