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. Mark, Bloomington, MN

    As one who lives in the Twin Cities. Much of our infrastructure budget had been gutted by the Polenty administration. He is our current governor. Ever since he took office. The snow plowing has been slow, construction slow, child services reduced. But hay, the state taxes didn't go up.

    August 2, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Paul, Minneapolis Minnesota

    This is what happens when we are more concerned about tax cuts for the wealthy than providing basic services for the good of all citizens. Our Republican governor (Pawlenty – an aspiring GOP VP wannabee) killed by veto this year a bi-partisan bill to raise money for transportation and repair of infrastructure. We find unlimited money for our idiotic military adventure in Iraq, but can't seem to find the resources to protect our citizens here from things like falling bridges.

    August 2, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Jeffrey, Douglas, MI

    Broken infrastructure, porous borders, hopelessly outdated air traffic control...welcome to your world, brought to you by the "no new taxes" republican leadership.

    (Oops...but we have 1 trillion dollars to invade a country that didn't threaten us.)

    HAD ENOUGH????????

    August 2, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. George Costalas, Phila., PA

    The trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000.00) that we spent on Iraq (for haliburton's profit) could have and should have been spent here at home on infrastructure, health care, social security). COngratulations to all of you conservative compassionate republicans...good job!

    August 2, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Eckto, Everett Wa.

    Republicans don't want to spend any money on infrastructure. They want it all spent on failed military adventures in third world basketcases.

    August 2, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. LLG, California

    Even if they has the funds to do the infrastructure building so desperately needed, this administration would outsource the materials/labor/contractors/planners...etc, because we American's just don't jobs like this!!! And even if we tried China has the market cornered on materials needed to do such jobs and they (china) has the The United States by the B#lls!

    Who are we to trust anymore???

    August 2, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. LLG, California

    Hey all you's what you do...Do what was done in California, Recall your Governor! Read your states constitution....Just make that connection and do what was done in California...RECALL!!!!

    August 2, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Lori, KS

    To Colin in Milwaukee and all the other idiots who blather on about "spending our money". So you'd rather spend it on needless, endless war? So you'd rather let this country fall apart then to give up your tiny $300 tax cuts? WTF? No wonder our country has gone to hell. I say we ship you all off to an island, put barbed wire fence up and let you form your own country. You can take all your guns and your fearless leader, George W. Chimp, with you. We can call it something like, say, Stupidstan. England did it to the Puritans. Why can't we do that here?

    August 2, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Becca ~ Sacramento,

    You wrote, "$250,000.00 per Minute of our Tax Dollars are happily spent attacking a Country that never attacked us or threatened to.

    Ask for a little bit of our Tax Dollars to be used at home for the good of the American Infrastructure and you’re an alarmist liberal.

    Where has Common Sense & Logic gone?


    Gee, Becca – do you pay the same gas tax (state and fed) I do here in Sacramento?? Funny I didnt realize all those tax dollars went into the Iraq War chest.

    And did you pay income tax like me?? For some odd reason I thought those dollars were used for domestic programs as well as the military budget.

    How naive of me! Thank you for not being an alarmist and using common sense by asking for a "little bit" of our tax dollars to be used at home as opposed to paying our military.

    August 2, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Roger Lancaster ~ DC,

    You shared, "The needs of improving our entire infrastructure (bridges, highways, dams, water systems, etc.)up to standard is around $1.6 trillion…the amount we have spent so far on the Iraq war—$1.6 trillion….hmmmmmm. Wonder sometimes where our values lie"

    You DO know the vast majority of our expenses in Iraq have been the salaries of our soldiers, right? So equating the "cost" of Iraq to some other project is apples and oranges. Or were you suggesting we eliminate our intire military?

    Just trying to get what you're saying here.

    August 2, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Jennifer Zambernard, Silver Spring Maryland

    I love seeing the posts from supposed "fiscal conservatives". Here are some actual facts.

    The Cato Institute, a bastion of conservative think, recently had to admit that cutting taxes in fact does not cut Federal spending. In fact for every 1.5% tax cut, spending goes up by an equal amount.

    How can this be? Because conservatives like you get used to the Federal government providing you with certain services. Police, fire, federal bail out money in times of floods, earthquakes, etc.
    When the Federal government raises taxes by 1.5%, Federal spending actually goes down by the same amount.
    How can this be?

    It is like shopping at Christmas with plastic instead of cash. When you pay on credit you can think about the actual cost later and the oversight is next to nill. When you pay in cash, you know what the "true" cost is and you do expect a full and fair accounting.

    When the Federal govt. cuts taxes, it means less money for the states. Money that could be used to make improvements and repairs to infrastructure in those states. However, when the Federal monies dry up, and being that states cannot be in deficit, state sales taxes, property taxes, licensing fees, etc...all get raised to pay for the Federal shortfall.

    I would rather know that lets say $8billion dollars in unaccounted for funds to aid in Iraqi reconstruction, actually actually had gone to something tangible and useful. Something that would keep us safe, like port security, improvements to our nations' electrical grid system, security at nuclear and chemical sites, etc... Instead you have a state like Indiana (with its Republican governor) who actually wanted to sell his states toll roads to a French/Spanish conglomerate so his state can make alittle money. Gee, I thought Bill O'Reilly said that France was bad!

    Wake up and be an adult. Government works. Republicans say that government does not work and then, like a self-fufilling prophecy, go out of their way to make sure it doesn't work. Oh, it can work. Just not with Republican's at the helm.

    August 2, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Jeffrey, Royal Oak, MI

    To Colin, Barabas, and the rest of you Darwinian do nothing free market whackos who still think that anything critical of the government and its promotion of corporatization and globalization is just left wing hate mongering partisan propaganda: 2003 black out, Katrina, NYC steam pipe, Minneapolis bridge, etc. are the tip of the iceberg.

    Depending on the month, we here in Southeast MI have the highest unemployment rate, highest foreclosure rate and depending on the study Detroit has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country.

    Come drive on our expressways and look under our overpasses. The majority are lined with plywood to keep some of that crumbling infrastructure from falling onto motorists and the roads.

    It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots (Reagan's deregulation of the airline industry, trickle down economics, the wholesale give away and exodus of the country's manufacturing base in exchange for slave labor in so-called free trade agreement countries, HMO's, tax cuts for the rich, No Child Left Behind, the fiasco of the Iraq War, etc.) left behind by a cabal of the power elite to realize the U.S. is well on its way to being a bankrupt shell of its former self unable to help the common citizen. When you take complete economic ecosystems out of the melting pot you end up with vast areas of near-wasteland like much of Southeast MI. It's like cancer that spreads and spreads unless it's addressed. Sometimes, like cancer, nothing can be done.

    You still adhere to the myth that this is a land of opportunity and that any governmental regulation is tantamount to Marxism.

    What do any of us worker bees have in common with immoral, lying, cheating trust funders who perpetuate their system of controlling the nation's wealth?

    I don't understand how you idolize these people who consider you cattle, lemmings and canon fodder. When are you going to wake up and realize that striving to be one of them, supporting their policies and alienating yourselves from the majority middle of the road citizens of this country only furthers the divide and decline of this country?

    August 2, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Les Vogt, Chicago IL

    For decades there have been reports of the serious need for repair of vital infrestructure. Unfortunatley, it takes something like this to get action. I applaud Mr. Reid for pressing the issue. If we can get out of this stupid occupation we can start rebuilding America.

    August 2, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Lona T.

    Hey, Colin,
    Harry Reid is right ... need I remind you of New Orleans and the levy's are still not repaired for the next big storm. If THAT wasn't a wake up call what do YOU need?

    August 2, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Buckley, Boston, MA

    Just forget for a minute that Harry Reid is a democrat. Ok, I know for some of you thats impossible.

    Quit making this a partisan issue. Its not, and the infastructure does need improvement, and thus far, warnings have gone unheeded. It makes me sick to see people using this to call democrats whiners, or to blame welfare. Personally, I'd prefer the money to go to education, so I don't have to hear all of the mouth breathers regurgitating party lines and Limbaughesque trash.

    August 2, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. zenjim, LA, CA

    The facts have been in for decades. The US infrastructure has been in rough shape for many years. In 2000 Al Gore wanted to invest in infrastructure and was labeled – no make that ridiculed – as a tax and spend liberal. When you elect people who don't believe in government to run the government, don't be surprised when a) they don't allot money to government programs, and b) those government programs subsequently begin to fall apart.
    You wanted a country run like a corporation with a CEO – you got it.

    August 2, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Kyle, Detroit, MI

    Let see, we have had steam pipes exploding in downtown Manhatten, Gas tanks exploding in Dallas, Bridges collapsing in California and now Minnesota, but Colin doesn't see any evidence of our infrastructure crumbling... what does it take to convince you?

    August 2, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. michael, las vegas,NV

    This is the ultimate terrorism. Allowing our infrastructure to go in such decline. Lets do like the Republicans and say it is for the children's protection.

    August 2, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Kevin, Seattle WA

    Hi to Colin, the very first post. Hi. Um, Colin, you are right. We should all take a deep breath and relax. The sky isn't falling, just an odd bridge, steam pipe, sink hole, refinery tank... etc...

    If we would all just chill more we could also stop worrying about global warming, too.

    Now what makes a person so eager to post such an ridiculous comment so quickly? I think I know. Fear. The same thing keeping "rightytighty" so puckered and ready to punch those keys.

    How do we combat this fear? Do we need to combat this fear? Can we move forward without combat?

    In case you never understood what FDR meant, he meant: "watch out for fools like Colin, RightyTighty and the rest".

    August 2, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Les Malone, Chicago, IL

    The power outage on the East Coast a few years back, the awful levees in the Gulf Region, this crumbling bridge in Minnesota, these are just a few examples of America's infrastructure breach. In particular, this is shameful when juxtaposed against the billions upon billions being spent to wage a war on "terror" in the Middle East. To call this alarmist, is to quickly sidestep the reality in our face. If you have to ask yourself what is the connection between this crumbling and the wars in the Middle East, then you don't really need to or want to know.

    August 2, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Gord, in Canada

    Ok so since none of you seem to understand how one billion can create 47000 well paying jobs let me explain. In economics it is called the multiplication factor. Each worker hired to do infastructure is paid. They then spend some of that pay creating demand and jobs in the food, housing, entertainment or in America health industries. Those people with the jobs created by workers spending also spend and so on. I can't guarantee 47000 jobs as it depends on the spending to savings ratio of the people involved. And as a bonus you get safer streets, water systems etc.

    August 2, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. Andy, Denver

    Who get's elected by saying,, "I'm going to make your bridged stonger." They get elected on the issues of abortion, gay marriage and prayer in school. If people weren't so busy sticking their noses in everyone elses business maybe our politcians would have time to focus on what government is supposed to do.

    August 2, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. David Brisker Seattle, WA

    Why does it take a tragedy like this to wake people up to what has been FACT for many years now? Our infrastructure has been in dire need for at least 30 years now. I can remember NYC Mayor Koch warning people of this in the early 80's but as usual, no one was listening. When will we get our priorities staight in this country? Why are we spening a trillion dollars in Iraq when we need to be spending it right here? Most of our country's public works were built in the 1930's during FDR's presidency through his WPA program. I have long held we need to bring back the WPA to create jobs AND rebuild our country. It's all about priorities, and always is!

    August 2, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  24. James in Minneapolis

    In 2005, this bridge was rated as "structurally deficient" by the Federal Inspectors. However, Gov Tim Polenta continues to veto the bi-partisan-passed bills for road/bridge improvements in Minnesota so he can live up to his pledge of no new taxes and further his national political ambitions as a Republican Governor who has held the line against the Democratic tide. I am not saying the bridge collapse was his fault. I am saying the infrastructure in Minnesota continues to decay because of him and our once nation-leading programs for children and in health care are now years behind. Most of us do not like taxes but most of us are also willing to pay our fair share to bring Minnesota back up to its historic position as leading the way in many areas of quality of living. When you look at the picture of Governor Wendell Anderson on the cover of Time Magazine years ago with the headline "The Minnesota Miracle" and the state of the State today, it is hard to believe this is the same place. The politics of division and exclusion practiced by the current regime along with poor financial policy have taken a deep toll.

    August 2, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. zenjim LA, CA

    Hey likwidshoe:

    Could you just take 5 minutes to research what you're saying?

    In 2006 the actual spending for the department of defense was 550 billion. That doesn't include spending for Veterans Affairs which was 750 million. Also not inlcuded in president Bush's budget was the cost of the Iraq war. This is why he gets to blame congress for not giving him his emergency appropriations. To date the war is estimated to have cost 456 billion by the end of September. In the news recently: Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist puts the final figure at a staggering $1 trillion to $2 trillion.

    By contrast the entire 2006 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services was 67.2 billion (a 1% decrease from 2005). That includes the following: Medicare, Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Health Centers, Marriage and Healthy Family Development, Bioterrorism, and Health Care Information Technology.

    But I guess if Rush says it, it must be true. Right?

    And one more thing.

    You said, "And stop lying about “tax cuts for the wealthy” (in reality they pay almost all of the taxes)"

    The Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center has produced estimates of how the benefits of the income and estate tax reductions enacted in 2001 and 2003 will be distributed among households at different income levels in coming years, if these tax cuts are extended. More than $1 trillion in tax cuts would go to the top 1 percent of households, a group with annual incomes above $400,000 in 2007. The highest income 1 percent of households thus would receive nearly one third of the tax cuts’ total value. The bottom 60 percent of households would receive 12 percent of the tax cuts’ value, or well under half the amount that would go to the top 1 percent.

    And if you don't like the Urban institute (from Businessweek):
    "A recent study by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office confirms that the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts have disproportionately benefited the wealthiest households. The tax cuts have boosted the aftertax incomes of the top 1% of households, with average incomes in excess of $1,000,000, by 10% - compared with a 2.3% increase for middle-income families with average incomes of $57,000 and a 1.6% increase for the bottom 20% of families, with average incomes of less than $17,000. The tax cuts for millionaires alone have reduced government revenues by $90 billion a year, more than the lost revenues from tax cuts for the 80% of families making less than $100,000. As an intended consequence of the Bush tax cuts, the share of federal taxes paid by the bottom 80% of taxpayers has increased, while the share paid by the top 1% has dropped. And that's before the elimination of the estate tax scheduled to take effect at the end of the decade, which will further reduce taxes on the wealthiest households."

    It's not just about who pays what, but as the ancient Romans used to say, "quisnam beneficium" – who benefits. I don't know if you're one of the wealthiest 1%, but it always amazes me how people currently get screwed by unfair tax policies that benefit only the wealthiest in America cry for them. Your naivete is mind boggling.

    August 2, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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