Last week, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) stood in front of a decaying bridge in St. Louis Park and called on his colleagues in Congress not to slash federal funding for transportation projects in the name of deficit reduction.
If House Speaker John Boehner gets his way, Minnesota could lose $315 million under the proposed 2012 federal transportation bill, much of which would go to repairing bridges like the bridge that carries Highway 7 over Highway 100.
"It kind of makes me a little nervous, if the experts say this bridge is structurally deficient, to let me and my family drive over it every day," Ellison said.
According to Fox 9, "structurally deficient" simply means the bridge is not up to current standards, and does not connote an imminent threat of collapse, However, there over 1,000 bridges in Minnesota that meet that definition. With funding shortages, the time until a bridge gets brought up to standard would likely increase dramatically.
Anti-Gang Program Could Lose Funding
Ellison made a stop at the North 4 Project last week, an anti-gang program he help set up two years ago by securing a $238,000 grant for the group. Aiming to stop young men from the city's toughest neighborhoods from continuing lives of crime and violence, the group set up its 31 participants with a mix of job training, part-time employment, group activities, and attention from mentors. So far, the North 4 Project has not lost a participant to gang violence, but this year its initial grant will run out.
According to Minnesota Public Radio, Ellison was reluctant to speak with reporters during his visit, but his stop helped highlight the group's efforts.