On August 18, 2007, in an article titled: "Of Bridges and Taxes", the Wall Street Journal reports:
"Some things in politics seem to be inevitable -- and one of them is that any road or bridge tragedy will be followed by an argument to raise the gasoline tax. That's what is now happening in the wake of the terrible Minnesota bridge collapse, but that state's transportation and tax record shows precisely why voters are skeptical."
“Minnesota's transportation auditors warned as long ago as 1990 that there was a "backlog of bridges that are classified as having structural deficiencies." In 1999 engineers declared that cracks found in the bridge that collapsed were "a major concern." Bike paths were deemed a higher priority by Congress, however, including its powerful Minnesota Representatives.
As recently as July 25, Mr. Oberstar sent out a press release boasting that he had "secured more than $12 million in funding" for his state in a recent federal transportation and housing bill. But $10 million of that was dedicated to a commuter rail line, $250,000 for the "Isanti Bike/Walk Trail," $200,000 to bus services in Duluth, and $150,000 for the Mesabi Academy of Kidspeace in Buhl. None of it went for bridge repair.”