Letter: The line of decency was crossedYour recent cartoon depicting me in a Nazi uniform crossed the line of basic decency. Even to a politician, this is unacceptable.
By: Steve Murphy, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Your recent cartoon depicting me in a Nazi uniform crossed the line of basic decency. Even to a politician, this is unacceptable. As a Marine, I saw no humor in it. As the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I can only say you are doing your readers a terrible disservice by continuously towing the Republican line and viciously attacking anyone with a different opinion.
To set the record straight, I have never explicitly or indirectly blamed the governor, Lt. Gov./Commissioner Carol Molnau or any MnDOT employee for the I-35W bridge collapse. Have I called for Molnau’s resignation? Yes, I have been for over a year. But I have done so for a host of reasons, none of which is blame for the bridge tragedy.
She needs to go, because under her leadership MnDOT continuously falls short of federal minority hiring status guidelines and faces a loss of federal transportation dollars.
She kept the troubling inspection report of the Hastings bridge secret under the guise of terrorism and national security. Under her direction, the Wakota bridge contract was canceled, and Minnesotans now deal with delays and increased project costs.
She concocted a funding scheme that asked contractors to start the Crosstown project without being paid and, having received no bids for the project, created significant delays and increased costs. And now an internal audit shows that under her leadership the department has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in project overruns. It specifically cited internal controls needing improvement.
Molnau’s dismal record, without consideration of the bridge disaster, is enough to warrant new leadership at the top of MnDOT.
In regard to the I-35W bridge and my skepticism of the NTSB report:
I’m simply doing my job in pointing out that there are differing opinions. For example, even though NTSB Chair Rosenker said federal bridge inspection standards do not include detecting errors in original gusset design and bridge inspectors aren’t trained to find these errors, inspectors in Ohio have been monitoring gusset plates since they found a problem in 1996. Clearly, inspectors, at least in Ohio, do have the ability to determine if a gusset is appropriately sized.
Additionally, engineering experts have raised that if the bridge gussets were indeed under-designed, why was there no visible sign of distress. These experts further question when there is demonstrable evidence of corrosion on the gussets, how this corrosion’s impact on the collapse can be dismissed by the NTSB.
In conclusion, I make no apologies for asking the tough questions and demanding answers to what caused the bridge to collapse. Doing any less would be abdicating my responsibility. Even if people disagree with me, they should have the decency to respect my goal of ensuring that our roads and bridges are safe for Minnesota drivers and that such a disaster never happens again.
Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, represents Minnesota Senate District 28.