WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have introduced a Senate resolution in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives that day.
“I’ll never forget the shock and horror of the day that the I-35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River, taking the lives of thirteen people and injuring many more. In the wake of that horror, Minnesotans joined together to support the families of the victims and the survivors,” Klobuchar said. “We joined together in the Senate, too, and we got the funding so that the bridge could be rebuilt. This resolution serves to honor the lives that were lost and also to remind us that the American people should not have to wait until another bridge collapses for us to start working together to address our nation’s critical infrastructure needs."
“We were all in shock ten years ago when the I-35W bridge tragically collapsed,” Franken said. “That evening, and in the days and weeks to follow, our hearts broke for those who lost their lives or were injured. But that disaster also showed Minnesota at its very best—after our first responders risked their lives to pull people to safety, and after the dust settled, Minnesotans came together, picked each other up, and supported the families and friends of the victims. Our resolution serves as a tribute to all who lost their lives on that dark day and as a testament to the spirit and will of Minnesota.”
In the three days immediately following the bridge collapse, Klobuchar and Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) led the bipartisan effort in the Senate to secure $250 million in emergency bridge reconstruction funding. Representative Jim Oberstar (D-MN) led the effort in the House.
In May, Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act to help states and localities better leverage private funds to build and maintain the nation’s outdated infrastructure. Last Congress, Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of Senators led efforts to pass the first long-term transportation bill in a decade. The bipartisan Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act provides Minnesota over $4 billion in funding for transportation over five years. In FY 2016 Minnesota, received over $36 million above the previous funding levels in highway and transit funding and will receive a $107 million increase in FY 2020. The bill also included Klobuchar’s provisions to improve rail safety at blocked highway-rail crossings, help combat distracted driving, promote teen driver safety, and protect driver privacy.
Franken is a strong advocate for making investments in infrastructure. He’s written legislation to make America’s bridges safer, and he fought hard to pass a bipartisan, five-year transportation bill to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure by improving highways, public transportation, and passenger rail. Last year, he held a series of meetings in rural communities across Minnesota to hear firsthand the challenges some communities face in securing the infrastructure needed to support businesses, community members, and their local economies. And earlier this year, he met with Minnesota transportation leaders to explore how we can best expand infrastructure investments under the Trump Administration and the new Congress. During his time in the Senate, Franken has championed measures to help ensure that our new roads, bridges, and water systems are built with American-made iron and steel.
The full text of the resolution is below:
Recognizing the 10th anniversary and honoring the victims of the collapse of the Interstate 35W Mississippi River bridge.
Whereas, on August 1, 2007 the Interstate 35W Bridge (I-35W Bridge) collapsed killing 13 people and injuring 145.
Whereas, the I-35W bridge was one of the busiest bridges in the state of Minnesota, carrying more than 140,000 vehicles a day;
Whereas, first responders and commuters collectively responded quickly and effectively to provide help and ensure safety;
Whereas, during the first two hours after the I-35W bridge collapsed, the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center received and processed more than 500 calls, 51 of which came directly from the scene of the disaster;
Whereas, after the collapse, there was a bipartisan effort to pass legislation that provided emergency funding to replace the I-35W bridge;
Whereas, construction of the new I-35W Bridge began on November 1, 2007;
Whereas, the new I-35W bridge opened to traffic on September 18, 2008, which was three months ahead of schedule;
Whereas, residents, businesses, community members and local government officials contributed to the design of the I-35W Bridge;
Whereas, the I-35W Bridge –
(1) has a 100-year lifespan;
(2) is 189 feet wide, and
(3) accommodates ten lanes of traffic;
Whereas, the new I-35W Bridge won the America’s Transportation Awards Grand Prize on October 30, 2009; and
Whereas, on September 11, 2009, the new I-35W bridge was named one the 10 best transportation projects in the United States: Now, therefor be it
Resolved, that the Senate –
(1) recognizes the 10th anniversary of the tragic Interstate 35W Mississippi River bridge collapse;
(2) honors the victims of the bridge collapse and their families;
(3) commemorates the bravery and commitment of the public safety personnel that effectively responded to the collapse; and
(4) acknowledges the successful community-wide effort to design, plan, and construct the Interstate 35W Saint Anthony Falls bridge.