Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Senator Coleman. I think everyone in this chamber and the country and the world is aware of the tragedy that befell our state just a few days ago.
This is a bridge that's not just in my backyard, Mr. President. It's actually in my front yard. It's only eight blocks away. It is one of the most well-traveled bridges in our state, and Senator Coleman and I were on the ground and saw the great damage just yesterday.
When I looked down and saw that miracle bus on the precipice and I thought about the fear in the eyes of those little children as they watched as the concrete and the road basically fell down below them, I couldn't even imagine what they went through. But then I met the heroes, the people that dove in over and over and over again looking for survivors.
The death toll would have been so much worse if our community had not come together -- the police, the fire, the emergency personnel and ordinary citizens to save the lives of our people. Today we want to thank our colleagues because it is good news that they stood by us in a bipartisan way to help the people of our state.
The vote is good news, Mr. President, at the close of a week that has brought so much heartbreak to our state. This was, as I said, the most heavily traveled bridge in our state and our people and our businesses depend on it.
Today in the United States Senate, as well as in the House of Representatives, the Congress voted to give us the opportunity to access the funds that we're going to need to repair this bridge.
There was also a focus on transit money, which is so important. The day we got to Minnesota, only 12 hours after this happened, our state had already put 25 buses -- extra buses on. They had billboards showing people the routes to go. It was an absolutely extraordinary effort. They were prepared. But I don't think anyone in any state can ever be prepared for a tragedy like this. So I just want to thank all of my colleagues at the close of a very long session.