Mr. President, I wanted to first thank this body for its amazing response when the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis.

I came back -- Senator Coleman and I went there immediately the morning after the bridge collapsed, on August 1, and saw firsthand what happened there. And I came back and reported the bravery of our citizens, the emergency responders immediately diving in, people who were off duty coming to the scene, ordinary citizens running in saving people among shards of steel, among rebar, diving in risking their own lives.

There was a miracle school bus there, Mr. President, where little kids could have died, but one man who didn't even know those kids opened the door and let them out. This is what happened in Minnesota that day.

Then we returned to this body and worked with our fellow Senators, and not one Senator objected to this idea that when a Federal bridge falls in the middle of America that we must rebuild it. When a Federal highway overpass falls in the middle of America, that we must rebuild it.

At that time when we only had 60 hours to get the authorization for the $250 million that we requested to rebuild that bridge, we were told to wait until the dust settled to figure out the details of the appropriation.  And that seemed like a good idea. Well, I can tell you Mr. President, that the dust has settled. 

What we've learned in our state, in our community is that 13 people died in the tragedy, ordinary people, people like Patrick Holmes who was driving home to his wife Jennifer and their children. People like Sadia Sahall, a pregnant nursing student, and her two-year-old daughter Hannah who were headed to a relative's home when the bridge crumbled beneath them.

Many, many people were injured. Many people died. That's what happened when the dust settled. We also now have a gaping hole in the major bridge in the middle of Minneapolis- St. Paul as you know, a major metropolitan area.

I think any of our members or anyone listening today thinks about our major metropolitan areas in their states, if there was suddenly a gaping hole, the bridge basically buckled into the Mississippi river. It is eight blocks from my home so I see it every day. It is costing an estimated $400,000 a day. $400,000 a day in lost business, in lost time. There were a number of other bridges, but they are very small. The traffic is built up. The emergency response from the federal government has been strong. The response from the state has been strong. Within 12 hours after this tragedy, billboards were out about emergency bus service. People responded in the right way, including this United States Senate and this Congress.

But on that day, 60 hours after this happened, a promise was made that we would rebuild that bridge and I appreciated the amendment to build bridges and to help repair bridges across this country. I supported it, as did my colleague Senator Coleman. But we knew that this was not the money that had been allocated to fix our bridge in Minnesota.
I think oftentimes when these tragedies happen, it does lead to a help across the country where we realize that levees need to be looked at, when we realize that flood-control systems need to be built after the grand forks flood. A lot of things happened that help other people in the country, but we always first help the people where the tragedy occurred. So that is what our amendment, Senator Coleman is cosponsoring it, is to make sure that we fund this bridge repair, that we fix this bridge.

As I said that day, a bridge in the middle of America just doesn't fall down. We will get to the bottom of what happened. But when it does fall down, Mr. President, we rebuild it. We fix it. We rebuild it. I thank the senate for their consideration.

Mr. Bond: Mr. President?
The Presiding Officer: The Senator from Missouri.
Mr. Bond: Could I ask the Senator from Minnesota a couple of questions? Number one, obviously we're all very much concerned about this collapse. We know the burden. We want to make sure that we provide the responsible help that's necessary.  I'd like to -- and I know that Senator Coleman has indicated he wants to speak on this. He's asked about this.  But I'd like to know if, number one, if this includes transit funding in that $195 million. Is it emergency highway funds, emergency bridge funds, or is it just designated as an emergency that does not come out of any of the existing highway or bridge funds?
The Presiding Officer: The Senator from Minnesota.
Ms. Klobuchar: Senator, it is my understanding that it is emergency funds. We did get some transit money designated early on.  But I will tell you this: we have, the Secretary of Transportation has been very good in working with us. I believe we've received about $55 million of the $250 million. That's why what this amendment does is ask for up to the remaining $195 million to be appropriated. And we will work with your staff on the details of this. We want to make sure that we cross all our T's and dot our I's. But I will tell you that we just can't continue to let this interstate be a gaping hole in the middle of our metropolitan area when it's clearly the intent of Congress to fund this and to authorize this money.  And we are simply trying to receive the rest of the funding that couldn't be immediately given to us by the Department of Transportation.

Mr. Bond: Mr. President?
The Presiding Officer: The Senator from Missouri.
Mr. Bond: I appreciate that and we need to work with DOT to make sure we have the details worked out on this, and appreciate the senator agreeing to work with us so we can -- and Senator Coleman wants to be added as a cosponsor, and we will, we may get further information on this as we go to, as we go to conference. But we will try to get this resolved today.  If you would add Senator Coleman, appreciate it. Thanks very much. I appreciate that.
Ms. Klobuchar: Thank you. Thank you, Senator. Senator Coleman was an original cosponsor in the original bill. We just made some modifications after speaking with Senator Bond. Of course he would be included in this one as well. I also wanted to thank Senator Murray for the work that she did immediately after this disaster, sending a staff member out to observe the bridge and work with us on getting that immediate funding.