The tragic collapse of the Interstate 35W Bridge has created substantial challenges for the people of Minneapolis. First is the challenge to complete the recovery effort. But then there will be the importance of mobilizing quickly to rebuild this critical artery as efficiently as possible. Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty (R) has already asked his congressional delegation for “prompt assistance to cut through any red tape at the federal level.” The loss of this major route from downtown should not cause the residents of Minneapolis to endure a needlessly lengthy bureaucratic rebuilding project best exemplified by both the dismal response to Hurricane Katrina and the insufficient effort to rebuild the Gulf Coast. Moreover, people should not be re-victimized by using this tragedy as an excuse to raise taxes.
There are at least three case studies in which we find that, with the application of the appropriate emergency powers, innovation and the right incentives, an emergency project like the I-35W Bridge can be safely completed in record time and at the least cost to the taxpayers.
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