Captain Ed has done some investigating on some accusations prominent Minnesota Democrats (and others) have been making with regards to funding and inspections on Minnesota bridges in light of the I35W bridge collapse, and finds them wanting:
Yesterday, Senator Amy Klobuchar blamed the collapse of the I-35W bridge on a lack of highway funds — even though the 2005 highway bill increased federal funding to Minnesota by 46% over its five-year span. Apparently realizing that line of argument wouldn’t hold, Rep. James Oberstar accused MnDOT of being too cheap to use advanced technology for bridge inspections. He left out of his accusation that the technology hasn’t proven itself for that purpose:
On the House floor Friday, U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., accused MnDOT of turning down an opportunity to use a $200,000 high-tech inspection technology on the bridge that might have detected a fatal flaw. …
“Technology can discover microscopic cracks not visible to the naked eye and then measure their propagation and do the same with bridges,” he said on the House floor. “The Minnesota Department of Transportation was offered the opportunity to use that technology and I am disappointed that the state rejected the opportunity to use that technology to test the structural integrity of the bridge that collapsed.” …
John Schadl, Oberstar’s spokesman, said the congressman mentioned the incident because he is frustrated by the lack of investment in new technologies, at both the federal and state levels. But Oberstar does not know whether the company’s system would have detected any fatal flaws in the bridge.
“Nobody knows if this technology would have prevented this tragedy,” Schadl said.
Precisely. And do you know why nobody knows it? Because we don’t know why the bridge failed yet. We don’t know whether this system works as promised, either. Why can’t our Democrats in this state wait to find out what actually happened before leaping to conclusions as to what could have prevented it — especially on the floor of Congress?
Because it’s so much easier and politically convenient to throw out accusations you can’t substantiate at the time in hopes that either something will stick, or at the very least in hopes that people will remember more the seriousness of the allegation rather than whether or not it actually turned out to be true?