Former MN State Transportation Commissioner: "A sobering reminder that our system is aging"
Elwyn Tinklenberg, who served as the state's transportation commissioner under Jesse Ventura, says the 35W bridge collapse is emblematic of an eroding, underfunded transportation system.
He points to a recent MNDOT assessment, which concludes that the state is underfunding transportation maintenance by a billion dollars a year. "That is not sustainable," Tinklenberg says. "We can't afford to do that and expect our system to continue to perform safely."
So, what to do? Tinklenberg calls for a gasoline tax hike. The last time the state raised the gas tax--which stands at 20 cents a gallon and is a key component of the state's transportation budget--was in 1988. In May, Governor Pawlenty vetoed a five cent gas tax increase, saying such a hike would be "untimely and misguided."