August 2nd, 2007
11:07 AM ET
10 years ago

Reid: Country needs to look at infrastructure

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Thursday that the Minneapolis bridge collapse should be a “wake-up call” for the country.

“We have all over the country crumbling infrastructure - highways, bridges, dams - and we really need to take a hard look at this,” said Reid.

In addition to being the “right thing to do,” Reid also said that repairing infrastructure was “good for America.” “For every billion dollars we spend in our crumbling infrastructure, 47,000 high-paying jobs are created,” added Reid.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to Minneapolis to investigate the cause of the bridge collapse.

- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Filed under: Harry Reid
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Colin, Milwaukee WI

    Nothing like shooting off a "our infrastructure is in dire need of attention" before even having proof of the cause.

    I'm not saying that our infrastructure couldn't use some improvement, but come on Harry!!! I thought alarmist statements like these were reserved for Bush administration officials. Statements like these also cause at least a few Americans to call into work today and tomorrow and say "I'm not coming in to work today because I have to cross a bridge and I'm afraid it will collapse while I'm on it", albeit probably to the relief of said person's coworkers.

    August 2, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Steve, Oregon, WI

    Our infrastructure is in dire need. The steam pipe explosion in New York and now this – it is obvious that we have not maintained our infrastructure. Beginning with Reagan on forward, we have directed all our funds to tax cuts for the wealthy and now the Iraq war. Other countries maintain, not wait to repair, infrastructure. I guarantee the answer from the current administration will be that we need to privatize our roads. Wrong answer!

    August 2, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. RightyTighty

    “For every billion dollars we spend in our crumbling infrastructure, 47,000 high-paying jobs are created,”

    Yeah, and thats a billion dollars every year from now on.. Harry sure likes to spend our money, he doesn't even need an investigation.

    August 2, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |

    Don't confuse them with facts, Harry.

    We're now spending $4000 a second (literally) in Iraq. Imagine home many highways, bridges, dams and jobs that could create here at home.

    This bridge collapse is yet another reason to vote Democrat in 2008.

    August 2, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. John from America

    This is just the tip of the infrastructure iceberg. Starting with Reagan approving increased axle loads on trucks beyond roadway design limits in exchange for Teamster support for the GOP. Followed by years of GOP borrowing and tax cuts for the richest of Americans we now have crumbling roads, rusting bridges, overloaded "deregulated" energy system, etc. Just wait until we get a Democratic President and then the GOP cronies will start pointing the finger at him for all these "problems on his watch"

    August 2, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Anon. in KCMO

    I am pretty sure there are local and state agencies that are in charge of maintence of these types of things in all cities. Bad things happen for no reason sometimes. A few years ago in Kansas City we had a bridge become "unhinged" on one side, thus making it unuseable. It had passed inspection just a few months prior to the problem. I feel bad for the people that lost loved ones, and pray for those that do not know the fate of the missing people.

    August 2, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    I would argue it's time to fast forward and look at how Japan and Western Europe has used more investment in rapid mass transit, high speed commuter trains and more efficient transportation systems.

    Let the states take care of their own infrastructure modernization but the federal government should focus on more
    progressive public transportation systems.

    August 2, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. ReadBtwthlins

    1,000,000,000/47,000 = $21,276.59

    Is that what Harry considers a high-paying job? What about everyone else..., are we "the rich"??

    August 2, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. likwidshoe, Cleveland, OH

    Steve, Oregon, WI – how about spending our money better? We had million dollar bus-stops and a bridge to nowhere in the last transportation bill. There's not enough money?

    And stop lying about "tax cuts for the wealthy" (in reality they pay almost all of the taxes) and the cost of the Iraq war. Get real Steve. This nation spends more on welfare than it does the Constitutionally mandated military.

    Also, I guess some need reminded that it is CONGRESS, not the President, that sets the spending. Bush and every other President have NOTHING to do with this bridge collapsing.

    August 2, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Scott Austin, TX

    Not to worry, Colin. Since the GOP lost control of the congress, Bush has suddenly discovered his constitutional authority to veto. He'll veto any infrastructure measure that is passed by a Democratic congress, claiming that he does not support "socialized" infrastructure.

    August 2, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Annette, Albert Lea MN

    What about Katrina? The Big Dig? Is anyone denying that we needed some major infrastructure improvements. And we are supposed to be scared of terrorists that maybe are here and maybe are planning something big. Maybe we should take a look at our shortcomings before we have another disaster and more human life lost. Instead we are spending billions on rebuilding a country we destroyed to begin with. Duh.

    August 2, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Kirk Talon

    No the Bush answer so far is it's the state's fault. Dollars to donuts the state couldn't do anything about it cause they would have had to decide between lunch rooms for school kids or infrastructure from some cut the Feds made to keep taxes low.

    August 2, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. On Par Washington PA

    Our infrastructure is in crisis, and has been so for many years. The news just doesn't report the daily travails on roads, bridges, railways and even airports unless there is a major devastating event.

    What troubled me about Harry's words were the ones that stated "We need to look at it." Harry, what we need to do is take action!

    We need to reinvent Eisenhower's National Highway system, revamp and in many cases redo our national highways.

    We're dumping billions into Iraq on a monthly basis while our infrastructure crumbles. It's time to put America, and American's first!

    August 2, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Sarah, Philadelphia, PA

    Colin, had you been driving on that bridge when it collapsed, you'd probably avoid highway bridges for the rest of your life, had you been lucky enough to survive.

    Infrastructure is suffering, along with many other things in this country, while we all contribute to corporate welfare and tax cuts for the rich, not to mention the Iraq war and whatever new war they choose to start before we finally get rid of Bushco.

    Calling in sick is a luxury not offered to those trapped in cars 9 feet under. Wake up, stupid.

    August 2, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Shane, Madisonville, LA

    I understand President Bush is promising whatever help is necessary to the people in Minneapolis. I'm sure many are comforted by his words. Speaking as someone from the Gulf Coast I can safely say, "Minneapolis, don't hold your breath..."

    August 2, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. David San Dieg California

    Hey Colin,
    There's plenty of studies that show how much our infrastructure needs repair. Fixing streets creates jobs, and will also save us some money from damage to vehicles caused by potholes, etc. Simple logic and observation shows our houses and cars need to be maintained. Same goes for our roads, bridges, damns, etc. I guess you already forgot about Katrina, whose damage could have been minimized if the Bush Administration had not cut money to fix the levies. Just like in healthcare, PREVENTATIVE fixes are CHEAPER than waiting for something to break. That bridge is going to cost a bunch to fix, and it would have been much cheaper to fix before it fell down. And that's not counting lives that would not have been lost.

    August 2, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Minneapolis, MN


    The White House said an inspection two years ago found structural deficiencies in the highway bridge that buckled during evening rush hour Wednesday, killing at least four people and sending dozens of cars plummeting into the Mississippi River.

    The Interstate 35W span rated 50 on a scale of 120 for structural stability, White House press secretary Tony Snow said.

    August 2, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Tucker, Boulder CO

    Colin in Milwaukee said: "Nothing like shooting off a “our infrastructure is in dire need of attention” before even having proof of the cause."

    Just how dumb can you be? What do you think the "cause" is? "Libruls"?? Not only is it well-known that politicians have been neglecting infrastructure for years, there was a REPORT ON THAT BRIDGE, calling it out as "structurally deficient", over 3 years ago.

    Neglecting infrastructure is STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM. As you can see, Muslims with explosives would have done less damage in this case.

    August 2, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Kirk, Buffalo, NY

    This was probably caused by an excess of idling cars just sitting on the bridge during rush hour for years and years. Methinks more money should be filtered to public transit, more compact development, and pedestrian-friendly environments and not wasted on rehabilitating a failed system of bridges, highways, and byways.

    August 2, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. Mike Macmo

    Where does reid get that 47,000 jobs figure? From the illegal alien who's last name he wouldn't divulge in the senate?

    August 2, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. gopindrag

    Yes, since Reagan, America has taken good care of its wealthy at the expense of the streets, highways, bridges and sewers. But the wealthy don't have nearly enough alternatives to the infrastructure we're all stuck with. Won't this admiinistration do something to prevent raw sewage backing up in the basements of the most fabulously expensive homes in America? What can we do to protect $100,000 cars that have to use derelict streets and highways? Subsidize private jets? Oh wait they need airports, more infrastruture in disrepair.
    But why should the few pay for any of that repair? Why can't this nation get that money from tens of millions earning a minimum wage? Anybody for a poll tax, flat tax? With every citizen paying $2,000 annually what could be more fair?

    August 2, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. Pasadena, Ca.

    Don't forget the sewers and the fresh water pipes leading into our homes and businesses full of lead solder etc..... Especially, Washington DC! It is full of nasty corrosion and toxicity in oh so many ways....

    August 2, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Nick, Minneapolis, MN

    A 2005 report called the bridge 'Structurally Deficient'. Sounds like a dire need for attention to me.

    August 2, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Nancy Harding, Unionville VA.

    C'mon, people, this is not a party issue, experts have been warning about the crumbling infrastructure in this country for years. I guess it will never be addressed, though, as long as no one can see it as an "American" issue, but only a Repub vs Dem one. Time for the American public to grow up...

    August 2, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. T.S.L., Live Oak, FL

    "Look into it"???? How about FUNDING it instead of all the political squabbling and pork barrel spending to insure re-election! When are the leaders of America going to focus on protecting us instead of sound bites and re-election agendas for them? Get off your million dollar backsides and pass the legislation to improve this country without all this mess!I wonder where America would be today had the Founding Fathers spent their time fussing and pointing fingers at each other instead of working to forge the most unique country in the world. Anyone remember "Keep it simple, stupid"??? Maybe we need to take a closer look at the wasted time and money the members of Congress have taken from the American citizens for their pork barrel projects. Let's take a long hard look at what We the People have allowed to take place in the Congress and the priorities there. How about listing each and every spending item as well as the name of supporting Senator or Representative. No more hiding these things within the bills sent to the President. Print it in every paper in America so we see for ourselves in simple language what is going on.

    August 2, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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