Panel OKs emergency funds for recovery from bridge collapse

In the wake of the devastating bridge collapse in Minneapolis Wednesday evening, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday authorized emergency funds for the recovery effort.

The bill (H.R. 3311) was passed by a unanimous voice vote without debate. Sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., the bill authorizes $250 million in relief funds for the state of Minnesota to use in the repairs of the Interstate-35W bridge.

The eight-lane bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of repairs when it buckled during the evening rush hours Wednesday. Dozens of cars plummeted more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River. The bridge was crowded with traffic, and a train had been passing beneath the roadway at the time it fell.

The bill waives the $100 million per state, per year cap on emergency funding from the Highway Trust Fund, a precedent that Oberstar said had already been established in past bridge collapses.

Oberstar said the legislation was needed because the Highway Trust Fund had already been depleted for the year after funds were used for repairs on the San-Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in California.

Rep. Thomas Petri, R-Wis., said it was important to realize that "tragedies are not as rare as we'd like," and raised concerns with the backlog of bridge repair projects that already exist, because there is only $5 million left in the chronically underfunded trust fund for the year.

Oberstar promised that the trust fund "won't fall short in the authorization period. We're going to run over who ever gets in our way." Oberstar added that he spoke with Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters on Wednesday, and she agreed with the level of funding.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.