Mitch Berg notes that the push for new gas taxes in the wake of the 35W bridge collapse isn’t being swallowed by Minnesota voters. I have a feeling that the pro-tax forces were all too predictable in their ghoulish push to raise taxes before the truth about what really caused the bridge collapse, and the voters are smart enough to see right through it.
This state doesn’t need more taxes — a lack of funds isn’t what caused the bridge to collapse. It’s looking more and more likely that a combination of factors — shifting piers on the river shore, design flaws in the nature of the bridge, a lack of redundancies, and the weight of redecking material all were part of the many factors that stressed the bridge beyond its breaking point. MnDOT had plenty of cash on hand, but no one apparently saw the need to expedite replacing the bridge.
In the last election cycle, Minnesota voters already approved a transportation amendment which substantially increased funding for transportation. The last federal transportation bill added billions of dollars more. The sheer greed of Minnesota state government in demanding more money rather than fixing the misplaced priorities that put mass transit over road safety is appalling. Mass transit is a nicety, but it is impractical for most Minnesotans. Funding a system for a minority while letting the roads that hundreds of thousands use daily fall apart is not sound management. Yet the proposed solution is to throw more money at the problem.
Across nearly every level of government, people are getting sick and tired of the ever more invasive and ever more self-serving attitudes of our elected officials. Taking this tragedy and using it to flog yet another tax hike to add more money to a broken system only proves why the Minnesota voter is rightly skeptical of this plan.
If there were an actual, demonstrable need for more money, it would be one thing. Yet when not one single bit of waste is being cut and priorities are not being reshifted to meet the needs of what Minnesota commuters actually do rather than what metro-area bureaucrats want them to do, then there is no reason to assume that more money into the bureaucracy will make our roads any more safe.
Voters see no reason to throw good money after bad — if Minnesota’s elected officials want to see our roads fixed, they’ll have to be willing to give up on their other pipe dreams first. When emergencies happen to real people, they have to tighten their belts and give up unnecessary spending — that’s part of being an adult. When we treat government like children and are always willing to raise their allowance no matter how badly they perform, we have to expect government to act like children. It’s time for government to grow up and learn how to act responsibly — and that means prioritizing infrastructure repairs over pushing the next mass-transit pipe dream.